Google's New Energy Fix

Silicon Valley giant helps DOE fund startups

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Now, let's work on that battery...

    Christmas came early to several startups, and Google played the part of the chimney.

    The Silicon Valley search giant and energy do-gooder hosted Secretary of Energy Steven Chu Monday, who promptly announced government plans to dole out $151 million to startups trying to help solve America's energy crunch.  In the words of Dr. Chu, "This is America's second industrial revolution."

    That sentiment plays right into the hands of Envia Systems.  Envia, based in Hayward, Calif. is in the envious position of collecting $4 million of the government's venture capitalist money, specifically to work on its energy storage and battery technology.  As explained by Envia's Herman Lopez, PhD, the company wants to "make car batteries three times lighter, and therefore much more energy efficient when you drive them."  Are you listening, Fisker and Tesla?  Dr. Lopez says GM has already contacted the company, expressing interest.

    The big question hanging in the air is, why Google?  Besides the employee Q&A, Dr. Chu held with Google CEO Eric Schmidt in the company cafeteria, press heads were scratching over the fact that Google, with its huge computer footprint, could use a little greening itself - even the company admits this.  But, Google being Google, it's becoming one of the key visiting points for government officials, so Dr. Chu stopped by as well.

    We saw how little the government stimulus plan was able to move the auto industry.  Can it goose green tech?  We'll keep an eye on companies like Envia, and let you know.

    Scott Budman, trying to do his part, just bought a hybrid.