Monday, February 02, 2009

To the future!

And beyond!
Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) -- In the basement lab of Nitash Balsara, at the University of California, Berkeley, are the ingredients of a lighter, more-potent battery to power the cars of the future. To build it, he needs President Barack Obama’s stimulus package to pass.

Balsara, a chemical engineer, has assembled a team of 15 scientists that applied for $25 million over five years from the U.S. Department of Energy to improve batteries by modifying their materials. Money for energy projects is part of an $819 billion stimulus, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, that Obama says is critical to saving the economy.

Researchers at U.S. universities, led by Berkeley, Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are targeting the $2 billion in energy research funds contained in the House recovery bill. The research dollars will produce jobs, reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and stem the production of greenhouse gases, according to the Association of American Universities, a group of 62 schools that conduct research.

“We see it as a huge opportunity, and there is huge interest on our campuses,” said Tobin Smith, a lobbyist for the Washington-based association. “I’m very optimistic. You have an administration coming in that says it’s important.”

Obama’s New Energy for America Plan, as explained on the White House Web site, calls for creating five million jobs by spending $150 billion, over 10 years, “to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future.”

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