LBNL Gets Additional $40 Million in Stimulus Funds

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday August 06, 2009 - 10:37:00 AM

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory received an additional $40 million in stimulus funds from the Department of Energy Aug. 4. 

This brings the lab’s total gain from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to $156 million. 

A statement from the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science said the additional funds would go toward biofuels, fusion energy and power grid research and help scientists get access to state-of-the-art technology at work. 

The DOE Office of Science, which received a total of $1.6 billion in recovery act funding from Congress this year, allocated $115 to Berkeley lab in March. 

“These new initiatives will help the U.S. maintain its scientific leadership and economic competitiveness while creating new jobs,” said DOE Secretary Steven Chu in a statement. “The projects provide vital funding and new tools for research aimed at strengthening America’s energy security and tackling some of science’s toughest challenges.” 

The Berkeley lab biofuel projects seek to explore new biofuel feedstocks and expedite research to convert plant biomass to biofuels, an idea that has met with a substantial amount of protest from critics of biofuels. 

Another project hopes to investigate how the nation’s power grid could be secured by algorithms to prevent blackouts similar to the one that took place in August 2003, which affected 50 million people nationwide and cost an estimated $4 billion to $10 billion. 

“It’s an extremely exciting time at the lab,” said Berkeley lab Interim Director Paul Alivisatos. “We’ve been at the forefront of clean energy and energy efficiency research, and this new injection of funds will help make the work of turning scientific study into energy solutions much faster.”