There are 17 national labs within the U.S. Department of Energy. There are thousands of Ph.D.s doing basic and continuing research into all aspects of energy use. The CSRA has one of the labs at the Savannah River National Laboratory at Savannah River Site. The labs can patent products and methods in the name of the United States and then sell these cheaply to American corporations. Nonstrategic products and methods can also be licensed to other nations who are members of the World Trade Organization with good track records for “fairness.” Methods are standardized, maintenance costs are minimized and duplication of research and development is minimized – a true win-win!
Imagine a breakthrough in battery or fuel cell technology at SRNL. The technology could power electric cars, including Club Car and E-Z-Go locally; store energy for water; wind and solar systems; transform emergency systems; and lower power loss during transmission – all this in addition to maintaining thousands of high-paying jobs in the CSRA. The same could be said for hydrogen technology, nuclear technology, water technology, storage technology, etc.
Imagine if more than $5 billion of the $90 billion given and loaned for alternative energy had been dedicated to SRNL and the rest to other national labs. Taxpayers already employ the workforce; facilities already exist; and the labs have proven track records. While some individual companies have failed, all companies would benefit from applicable new technologies.
NASA caught the imagination of the world when President Kennedy set a goal of placing a man on the moon by “the end of the decade.” There are products we still use, such as Tang and Velcro, that were invented under NASA contracts. This is trivial compared with 17 national labs developing products and methods that make our lives on Earth better! Let’s use them to the fullest!