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Department of Energy Launches Competition to Spur Onshore Manufacturing of Energy Technologies

The DOE's goal is to connect inventors with manufacturing firms to encourage both innovation and manufacturing

WASHINGTON–The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced the opening of the American Inventions Made Onshore (AIM Onshore) prize competition and the availability of DOE's Build4Scale manufacturing training–both part of a DOE initiative to close the gap between American innovators who develop new energy technologies and domestic manufacturers who produce them.

Even if American scientists and engineers invent transformative energy technologies, these innovators often do not have manufacturing expertise–or know where to find it. Through AIM Onshore, selected intermediary organizations–incubators, accelerators, universities, and others–will teach manufacturing fundamentals to energy technology innovators, and help them forge partnerships with domestic manufacturers.

"Onshore manufacturing of American energy technologies plays an important role in promoting U.S. economic growth and competitiveness," said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, in a press release from DoE. "The AIM Onshore prize competition and Build4Scale training will not only help to advance energy innovation, but will also help ensure that energy technologies invented in the United States are manufactured in the United States."

Total DOE funding for the AIM Onshore prize is $950,000. Four organizations will win the AIM Onshore initial prize of $150,000 each. These organizations will then deliver DOE's Build4Scale training to help innovators connect with manufacturers. The training–developed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in collaboration with industry, academia, and government–helps innovators avoid the common pitfalls of product design by teaching them manufacturing design fundamentals in the early stages of prototype development. It also provides them with the know-how they need to work with manufacturers.

The four organizations selected to deliver the training will be evaluated by hard metrics, including the number of contracts developed between innovators and domestic manufacturers, and the dollars unlocked by private stakeholders to continue the activities. Only the most successful participants will be supported beyond the initial prize, incentivizing high performance among participants.

After one year, the AIM Onshore final prize will be awarded to the two best performing organizations ($250,000 for first place; $100,000 for second place). By requiring winners to demonstrate a sustainable revenue stream to continue providing the training, DOE is leveraging a small initial federal investment in an initiative that it said will ultimately be sustained by the private sector.

More information about the AIM Onshore prize competition rules, eligibility, and deadlines is available at www.Build4Scale.org. DOE's Build4Scale training and other resources are available on the website for public use and dissemination.

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