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Award Winning National Renewable Energy Lab Transfer of Solar Technology

The Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer’s (FLC) Mid-Continent Region recently recognized the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and its partners with three awards for excellence in technology transfer.

Innovalight Silicon Ink Process
Silicon Ink Boosts Quality and Cost SavingsNREL’s Photovoltaic (PV) Technology Incubator, created by DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Program, focuses on developing prototype PV components and systems and reducing market barriers for 2012 commercialization. Under the incubator program, NREL scientists teamed with Innovalight, Inc., to adapt Silicon Ink, a liquid form of silicon, and develop its use in solar cells.

This marks the first time that silicon has been sold as a liquid. The new product can boost the bottom line of a typical solar production plant by 20 percent, which for an average-size factory is $100 million. It also can boost the efficiency of the cells by 6 percent. Five of the world's leading solar cell producers have signed licenses to use Silicon Ink in their production lines.  Innovalight Silicon Ink was recently named among this year’s most significant innovations by R&D Magazine with the prestigious 2011 R&D 100 Award.

Electrochromic Windows

electrochromic windowsNREL’s electrochromic window technology stands apart from other window options by reflecting sunlight, reducing heat gain, and ultimately keeping buildings cooler.  The technology inspired entrepreneur Loren Burnett to form a new company called US e-Chromic, LLC, in Boulder, Colorado to further advance the technology. As licensing discussions progressed with Burnett, an opportunity arose that the new project fit perfectly — The Department of Energy's America's Next Top Energy Innovator program.

The America's Next Top Energy Innovator program allowed NREL to give Burnett a reduced price on an option agreement for the electrochromic technologies and helped reduce paperwork. Within a month, the deal was closed. It was the first in the country under the new DOE program. This innovative technology transfer drew attention from the White House.  Vice President Joe Biden announced the finalized e-Chromic agreement during a May visit at NREL.

Watch the 2 minute explanation of electrochromic windows on YouTube:

NREL Electrochromic Window Research Wins Award

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In June 2012, Think Again MN launched a history series that examines politics and policy-making in Minnesota during the last century from the immediate post World War II years up through the 1990s. That era witnessed fierce legislative battles at the State Capitol but it was also a time of shared values that cut across partisan lines. 

Read about it here

MN's Leading Election System

MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon


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Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

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Oregon's Automatic Voter Registration

How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016

In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

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