AUSTIN, TX-National Instruments (NI) has announced its 2011 Green Engineering Grant program, a worldwide competitive program that fosters rapid design, prototyping and commercialization of promising new renewable energy, energy efficiency and smart grid systems. Through the program, NI will donate up to $25,000 USD equivalent in NI LabVIEW graphical system design software tools and training to eligible startups to help advance clean energy development in applications such as solar, wind and biofuel technology. The 2011 program has a special focus on technologies that improve the smart grid and provide the foundation for a clean energy future.

“With only three employees, we work hard to develop clean energy solutions for people in developing nations,” says Matt Bennett, vice president of research and development for Windlift, a startup company that develops mobile airborne wind energy systems, including onboard energy storage for mobile microgrids in post-conflict reconstruction and disaster relief. “The NI Green Engineering Grant gave us the tools to facilitate rapid development of our technology, helping us to progress from concept to prototype in just eight months. Also, the same hardware and software will carry through the entire technology development process, providing a smooth transition when we are ready to enter production.”

To date, the NI Green Engineering Grant program has delivered NI software and training to more than 40 startups and small companies working on a variety of revolutionary renewable energy applications. The following examples demonstrate how past grant recipients are using NI tools in their renewable energy solutions:

  • Powering remote villages with portable airborne wind technology
  • Producing quality transportation fuels from inedible plants
  • Generating electricity by harnessing ocean thermal energy

    Because smart grid technology is a foundation for renewable energy innovation, the company will host, on April 19–21, an interactive Earth Week webcast series about smart grid technologies and the 2011 Green Engineering Grant program. The three-part series examines the rapidly changing landscape of clean energy, smart grid and energy storage technologies. It also features presentations from past grant recipients and other technical demonstrations that show how NI technology can help engineers develop and speed the adoption of renewable energy systems.

    Readers can register for the webcast and learn more about the 2011 NI Green Engineering Grant program by visiting