"The federal Energy Department will make good on a pledge for a bolder technology strategy on Monday, awarding research grants for ideas like bacteria that will make gasoline, enzymes that will capture carbon dioxide to counter global warming and batteries so cheap that they will allow the use of solar power all night long.
A new agency within the department will nurture these and other radical proposals, most of which will probably fail but a few of which could have 'a transformative impact,' Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in an interview on Friday. The money will go for projects at all stages of development, including some that exist simply as a smart idea, Dr. Chu said.
The department will announce 37 grants totaling $151 million, mostly going to small businesses and educational institutions but also to a few corporations. Some of the ideas may be supported until they are picked up by venture capitalists or major companies, he said."
Matthew L. Wald reports for the New York Times October 25, 2009.