Energy Department Announces New Office of Technology Transitions
WASHINGTON – Today, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced the launch of the Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) to help expand the commercial impact of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) research. The office will work closely with the national laboratories and engage with industry to commercialize technology and strengthen the global competitiveness of U.S. industries based on scientific and technological innovations.
“Through technology transfer, commercialization, and deployment activities, the Department of Energy has made significant contributions to economic growth in the United States,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “The Office of Technology Transitions will give the Department the opportunity to increase the American people’s return on investment in federally-funded science and energy research.”
The Office will serve as a DOE-wide functional unit that coordinates the commercial development of DOE’s research outputs and will be responsible for the statutorily-created Energy Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF), a nearly $20 million fund that will leverage the R&D funding in the applied energy programs to pursue high impact commercialization activities. Established as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the fund uses 0.9 percent of the funding for the Department’s applied energy research, development, demonstration, and commercial application budget for each fiscal year. This will provide matching funds with private partners to promote promising energy technologies for commercial purposes. Additionally, the new office will be responsible for delivering a Technology Transfer Execution Plan to Congress and reporting annually on the Department’s technology transfer and partnership activities.
The Department of Energy spends more than $10 billion on research and development each year, conducted primarily at universities and Federal laboratories. This investment supports research that is creating the foundation for discovery and innovation, enabling the transition to a low-carbon economy, and is maintaining American nuclear security.
Some of these research discoveries show near-term potential for commercial products and services, and with the OTT, the Department is committed to helping technologies transition to the market, based on closer collaboration with industry and specifically recognizing the multiple, interlinked connections among different stages of research and demonstration that are needed to reach commercial impact.
For example, work conducted at the Department’s national laboratories has provided the scientific and technical foundation for many energy technologies in the market today. Some technologies include solid state lighting, vehicle batteries and solar panels. Research investments made by the Department also have led to breakthrough technology for many other industries, including for medical devices, manufacturing processes, water purification and digital recording.
The OTT will help coordinate technology transfer activities carried out at all 17 DOE national laboratories, as well as other DOE research and production facilities, to actively support private sector commercialization activities. These activities support the White House’s Lab-to-Market initiative, which is focused on accelerating the transfer of federally funded research from the laboratory to the commercial marketplace. As part of this, DOE has developed a list of more than 200 DOE facilities and equipment accessible to the private sector.
The Director of the office will serve as the statutorily-created Technology Transfer Coordinator, and as the Secretary’s primary advisor on matters relating to technology transfer and commercialization activities. The Office of Technology Transitions will be housed within the Office of the Under Secretary for Science and Energy.
Prior to her confirmation as director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy, Dr. Ellen Williams began laying the groundwork for the new office as a senior advisor focusing on technology transfer for Secretary Moniz. Jetta Wong, Director of the Lab Impact Initiative in the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, has been chosen to serve as Acting Director of OTT until a full time Director and Technology Transfer Coordinator is selected.