Full power: Alternative energy partnerships flourish in Asia

April 22, 2014
Students at Palolo Elementary School share their science projects with Dr. Richard Carlin, head of the Sea Warfare and Weapons Department at the Office of Naval Research, during his visit to discuss the Asia-Pacific Technology and Education Program. The primary goal of the program is to promote commerce and partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region through advancements in research, technology development and education. Credit: US Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released

As President Barack Obama begins a trip to Asia to coordinate with allies and reconfirm America's strategic pivot to the Pacific, officials at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) emphasized today the Asia-Pacific Technology and Education Partnership (APTEP) as an example of strong and growing ties between the United States and its allies in the region.

The APTEP program, centered in Hawaii with partnerships across the Asia-Pacific region, supports the development of technologies. It takes a three-pronged approach, supporting cutting-edge energy research; educating students and teachers in energy-related fields; and supporting businesses trying to bring alternative energy products to the marketplace.

"The president's trip, and the fact that today is Earth Day, make this an important moment to highlight the vital energy partnerships happening in APTEP," said Dr. Richard Carlin, director of ONR's Sea Warfare and Weapons Department. "This program is a unique way to move the U.S. and our allies toward increased energy independence—and support technologies that will help our Sailors and Marines, on the seas and in the field."

Naval experts say that when it comes to developing alternative energy resources to reduce the demand for oil, what benefits the U.S. Navy will produce strong benefits for the nation-at-large, and the world.

The APTEP program supports the energy goals of Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who has noted: "The United States Navy and Marine Corps rely far too much on petroleum, a dependency that degrades the strategic position of our country and the tactical performance of our forces. The global supply of oil is finite, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find and exploit, and over time, costs continue to rise."

The program's three pillars recognize that the world's enormous energy challenges cannot be met by a single approach:

Commerce: As budgets have tightened across the Department of Defense, the enormous and mounting costs associated with reliance on oil as a primary means of power and energy have come increasingly into focus. Of APTEP's themes—research, education and commerce—Carlin notes that helping young companies develop commercially-viable technologies is among the most likely ways to keep costs down in the future.

"If we help enable to reach the marketplace, everybody wins," he said.

One example of the kind of work the Navy is doing to encourage private industry is called Energy Excelerator. That program, based in Hawaii, works directly with companies that are conducting innovative energy research, helping them bring products to market through often-cumbersome regulations and requirements.

Education: The nation's science and technology workforce is aging. By 2020, more than 50 percent will be retirement-eligible. Experts say it's urgent to replenish those ranks in order for the United States and its allies to continue to advance in the years ahead.

Part of APTEP's mission, then, involves training teachers—to give them new tools to help engage young minds in scientific education. Included in that process are specific partnerships with educational institutions, so that science and technology can be encouraged throughout a student's educational life.

Research: Supporting efforts from micro-grid power management to the development of advanced fuel cells, biomass-to-energy, and more is part of the APTEP effort at the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawaii. These kinds of research efforts are particularly important in a state like Hawaii where 90 percent of energy comes from imported oil —but where there are abundant potential sources of in the form of waves, geothermal, wind, solar and more.

These conditions make Hawaii an ideal technology and economic "test bed" for .

"In the long term, we are engaged in technology development, things that might be integrated into the state but also have applications in lots of other places—including other parts of the U.S. and the Asia-Pacific region," said the Institute's director, Rick Rocheleau.

Explore further: Warrior power: ONR, veterans plugged in on alternative energy

Related Stories

Warrior power: ONR, veterans plugged in on alternative energy

November 21, 2013

An innovative Office of Naval Research (ONR) program is looking to Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard veterans for the cutting edge in alternative energy-and is highlighted this week in a new video released during the Navy's ...

Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US

April 17, 2014

The White House Thursday announced a series of measures aimed at increasing solar energy production in the United States, particularly by encouraging the installation of solar panels in public spaces.

Microgrid powers 'World Green City'

December 13, 2012

The Office of Naval Research (ONR), a leader in the exploration of renewable power, played a major role in the development of a new "World Green City" unveiled here on Dec. 12 as a prototype community powered by alternative ...

Ice breaker: ONR researchers explore a changing Arctic

April 14, 2014

As sea ice continues to recede at a record pace in the Arctic, officials at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced April 14 new efforts to determine the pace of change in what some are calling Earth's final frontier.

Recommended for you

Volumetric 3-D printing builds on need for speed

December 11, 2017

While additive manufacturing (AM), commonly known as 3-D printing, is enabling engineers and scientists to build parts in configurations and designs never before possible, the impact of the technology has been limited by ...

Tech titans ramp up tools to win over children

December 10, 2017

From smartphone messaging tailored for tikes to computers for classrooms, technology titans are weaving their way into childhoods to form lifelong bonds, raising hackles of advocacy groups.

Mapping out a biorobotic future  

December 8, 2017

You might not think a research area as detailed, technically advanced and futuristic as building robots with living materials would need help getting organized, but that's precisely what Vickie Webster-Wood and a team from ...

Lyft puts driverless cars to work in Boston

December 6, 2017

Lyft on Wednesday began rolling out self-driving cars with users of the smartphone-summoned ride service in Boston in a project with technology partner nuTonomy.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Lex Talonis
not rated yet Apr 23, 2014
Got to remove the word "Alternative" from ENERGY....

When it comes down too it, there are UTILITY large scale generators, usually using coal or atomik, or gas etc...

But there are ALSO large scale generators using solar, wind, wave, hydro and bio fuels etc...

AND there are squillions of small scale generators using solar, wind, wave, hydro, bio fuels etc....

There is no such thing as "Alternative" power supplies, only the scale or size or output of the generation facility, and the amount of participants, in the running of the plants - and the number of power users...

And then there is choice and costs.....

The cumulative environmental cost - being the most significant.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.