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Universities to Share $130-Million in Energy Grants

The U.S. Energy Department on Wednesday announced a new round of grants, totaling $130-million, for research into breakthrough energy technologies.

The recipients include more than two dozen universities, including Colorado State University, which will be working on ways of genetically engineering crops to make them more useful for biofuel production; Cornell University, which is developing an “algae-fuel reactor” that distributes sunlight more efficiently for use in algae-fuel production; and Stanford University, which is developing a coating for the rooftops of buildings and cars that helps them cool by reflecting sunlight.

The projects are being financed through the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, a division of the Department of Energy that began operating in 2009 with the goal of applying cutting-edge research to pressing energy problems.

The Obama administration has touted ARPA-E and its projects as part of an “all of the above” solution to the nation’s energy needs.

As for where the government might get the $130-million, the administration had another energy-related announcement on Tuesday that might help: The Department of the Interior announced that it had received more than $133-million in bids for new projects of oil and gas exploration and development in the Gulf of Mexico.

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