Banking on energy

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    US national labs and battery makers stand to benefit from cash injection into green cars.

    Research scientists are set to benefit from a $3-billion pledge by the US Department of Energy for alternative-energy research and manufacturing. It will help fund such areas as battery manufacturing for hybrid and electric vehicles; new energy research centres; and upgrades of energy-research infrastructure at national labs.

    The largest sum, $2.4 billion, is expected to support research at vehicle and battery manufacturers (see Nature 460, 791; 2009). Another $377 million will support 46 'energy frontier' centres at universities, national labs and research institutions. These will focus on basic and applied science in various fields including biofuels, solar cells and carbon sequestration (see Nature 459, 285; 2009).

    Also, $327 million will pay for research, instrumentation and lab infrastructure at 10 national labs. Of that, $60 million, the largest allocation, goes to Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois, for a particle accelerator.

    The funding, announced earlier this month, is part of President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan.

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    Banking on energy. Nature 460, 1047 (2009) doi:10.1038/nj7258-1047d

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