Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Energy’s ” (DOE) America’s Next Top Energy Innovator Challenge” began. The challenge is meant to encourage entrepreneurs and start-up companies to pick up on one of the DOE’s over 15,000 unlicensed clean energy and technology patents through a streamlined and heavily discounted program. Recently, while visiting the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden announced the first company to sign on under the challenge.
Colorado-based start-up company U.S. e-Chromic takes the honor of being the first program participant and, according to an agreement it signed with the DOE, will be working with electrochromic technology developed by NREL to create a new thin film window material that reflects sunlight on demand in order to make windows more energy efficient and reduce cooling costs.
The challenge continues until December 15. Interested companies can look through a list of available patents at the DOE’s energy innovation portal and read answers to the most frequently asked questions here.
Next year, the DOE will reportedly showcase the start-up companies that have made the most progress toward executing their business plan and commercializing their new technology at the 2012 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit.