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Energy Innovation Hubs

Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) and Acting Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman speak during an event on Capitol Hill featuring the directors of the five energy innovation hubs. | Energy Department video.

Yesterday, the directors of the Energy Department's Energy Innovation Hubs joined policymakers on Capitol Hill to discuss the critical research being conducted at the hubs and to answer questions from attendees. Modeled after the strong scientific management characteristics of the Manhattan Project and AT&T Bell Laboratories, the Energy Innovation Hubs are integrated research centers that combine basic and applied research with engineering to accelerate scientific discovery that addresses critical energy issues.

  • Representative Chaka Fattah (D-PA) and Acting Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman opened the event, noting the important role that the Energy Department has played in scientific research and innovation since its inception as the Atomic Energy Commission during World War II.
  • Dr. Douglas Kothe, Director of the Consortium for the Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors, discussed his hub's goal of developing and deploying light water reactors and addressing key nuclear energy industry challenges.
  • Dr. Nathan Lewis, Founding Director and Chief Scientist of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, outlined his hub’s plan to harness the sun to turn water and carbon dioxide into fuel through artificial photosynthesis.
  • Dr. Henry Foley, Executive Director of the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub, gave an overview of the EEB Hub's quest to develop affordable tools for building design, construction, and operation to reduce building energy waste by 20 percent by 2020.
  • Dr. George Crabtree, Director of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, discussed his hub's 5-5-5 goal for energy storage: 5 times the energy density at 1/5th the cost within 5 years.
  • Dr. Alex King, Director of the Critical Materials Institute, stated his hub's mission as averting shortages of rare earth and other critical materials used in the production of renewable energy.

At the conclusion of the event, each of the five directors offered their perspective on what a child born today will see in the world in twenty years. For more information, visit or watch the video of the event.