“How would a spider design a solar energy system?”
“Could we rewire photosynthesis in kelp to increase oceanic CO2 consumption?”
“What if large scale wind power operated less like a windmill and more like a glider?”
Scientists imagine amazing possibilities every day, including some that if proven will change the game in how we produce, consume, and store energy this century.
OUR&D’s mission is to fund these brilliant scientists. We fund practical, early stage experiments called proofs of concept. Part fundamental science and part flash of inspiration, proofs of concept bridge the gap from basic science to initial practical applications. If the experiments are successful, we will have a new tool that will change climate change.
Why focus on proofs of concept?
This type of research is tragically underfunded. Even though billions of dollars in grants are issued by the government and venture capitalists across the journey from basic science to successful products and systems, surprisingly there is no agency whose sole mission is to foster this essential type of research. And more proofs of concept “shots on goal” today increase our chances of altering our climate change trajectory.
It’s also urgent. Unlike digital startups, it can take decades for an invention to become prevalent in today’s energy infrastructure. So, we need to double down on proofs of concept today so that in 2050 will be a radically different, greenhouse gas emission-free tomorrow.