Bill Gates: Feds Should "Lead in Energy Innovation"

Bill Gates wants the federal government to give a big boost to energy research and development so the U.S. can “lead in energy innovation.’

Gates, who has invested in Liquid Metal Battery, an innovative battery company that could help replace wind and solar power’s reliance on natural gas plants, said it’s time for the federal government to increase investment in energy R&D from $5 billion to $16 billion a year.

In an editorial posted on Science Online, the American Association for the Advancement of Science online magazine, Gates said the boost in spending is “essential to protect America’s national interests” in the future:

In a time of economic crisis, asking policy-makers in Washington, D.C., to spend more money might not be the most popular position. But it’s essential to protect America’s national interests and ensure that the United States plays a leading role in the fast-growing global clean energy industry. There is really no other choice. Carbon-based fuels are prone to wild price gyrations and are causing the planet to overheat.

In reporting on the Gates editorial, tech news website CNET notes that it might be a tough sell, given the federal government’s budget crisis and the failure of solar company Solyndra, which received a $535 million federal loan guarantee.

Liquid Metal Battery, a spinoff of work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, hopes to reduce energy storage costs by creating a battery with entirely liquid active materials. In lead acid and lithium ion batteries, the active materials are solid.

Source:  Greg Lamm, TechFlash, November 21, 2011.