Among the many advocacy and lobbying groups that weigh in on automotive and energy policy matters in our nation's capital, Secure America's Future Energy (SAFE) isn't necessarily among the most high-profile.

But now the group is offering something that should make civilians sit up and take notice: cash.

SAFE has announced a $125,000 cash prize to be awarded to the emerging technology it judges most promising to reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil.

The SAFE Energy Security Prize will be awarded on October 16, not coincidentally the 40th anniversary of the 1973 oil embargo staged by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that kicked off the first U.S. "energy crisis."

Of two Prize categories, the one with the cash is called the Emerging Innovation Award. It is intended to "recognize up to three technologies not currently in the marketplace" that are expected to be available for sale within five years.

The winning technologies will have to offer the "potential to meaningfully reduce [sic] long-term U.S. oil consumption," which is SAFE's overall mission.

Candidate technologies could include energy storage innovations--whether batteries for electric cars or storage for other forms of non-oil energy--or vehicular technologies that greatly increase energy efficiency in transportation, among many examples.

As SAFE CEO and president Robbie Diamond notes, “America’s oil dependence hinders our national and economic security."

Money makes the world go 'round

Money makes the world go 'round

There will actually be three awards to the top three finalists: In addition to $125,000 to the winner, a first runner-up will be awarded $35,000, and the second runner-up will get $15,000.

There's also an Advanced Technology Award, which will be given to up to three groundbreaking technologies that have already established themselves in the market.

They, too, must have made a "meaningful contribution to reduced U.S. oil dependence"--but in this case, it's just recognition. No cash.

The prizes will be awarded during a national energy conference, entitled OPEC Oil Embargo +40: A National Summit on Energy Security, that will be held on October 26 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

SAFE has more information on the Energy Security Prize on its website, including applications for each prize.


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