Bennet, Gardner Introduce Legislation To Establish Tech-Transfer Maturation Program

Energy Technology Maturation Program Act would help national laboratories work with the private sector to commercialize innovative energy technology

Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D) and Cory Gardner (R), along with U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Kamala Harris (D-CA), today introduced legislation to authorize an Energy Technology Maturation Program at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to facilitate successful commercialization of laboratory-developed energy technologies and boost regional, technology-driven economic impact.

Bennet first introduced legislation to launch the program in 2015 with Heinrich through the National Laboratory Technology Maturation Act of 2015.

"Federal labs in Colorado are powering a transformation across the country in how we use energy," Bennet said. "NREL in particular is leading the way to strengthen our innovation economy by bringing small businesses into the fold through its technology transfer program. By expanding the program, we would make it easier for low-cost energy technologies to reach consumers. We should continue to improve the transfer of technology between our public and private sectors to spur innovation, create jobs, and boost our competitiveness in the 21st century economy."

"The National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) headquartered in Golden, Colorado, along with other Department of Energy labs around the country, develop cutting-edge technologies that the public and private sector benefit from," Gardner said. "Every $1 of taxpayer funds invested through NREL results in $5 of private investment and the lab's $870 million annual nationwide economic impact can be even greater with the continued success of the Energy Technology Maturation Program. This bipartisan bill will create jobs and grow the economy and continue to ensure the United States remains a global leader in technological innovation."

The effective transfer of technologies from DOE facilities to businesses that can turn them into commercial successes is an essential element of the country's innovation ecosystem and critical to U.S. competitiveness in an increasingly demanding, technology-driven global market. Technology maturation funding accelerates the successful transfer of technologies licensed from national laboratories and can often provide the necessary link between an innovative process for technology and a real-world application with powerful market potential.

Under the Energy Technology Maturation Program, funding would be provided to help increase the maturity of technologies developed at DOE facilities with the goal of attracting a private partner that is willing to support the technology's next steps to commercialization. The program would also provide funding to support cooperative development of a technology where a specific commercial partner has already been identified. Priority would be given to private-sector partnerships with small businesses.

U.S. Representatives Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives.

A copy of the Energy Technology Maturation Program Act of 2017 is available HERE.