The Department of Energy would create new basic research programs in solar fuels and energy storage under two bills passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week. The measures would allow DOE to redirect $150 million per year from fiscal 2017 through fiscal 2020 to each of the new initiatives. The proposed Solar Fuels Innovation Act (H.R. 5638) would establish a research program focused on replicating natural photosynthetic processes and the study of artificial photosynthesis for the production of fuels. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Science, Space & Technology Committee, says the legislation “takes a step forward in providing the private sector with the scientific understanding that is needed to eventually commercialize solar fuels technologies.” The second bill (H.R. 5640) would provide support for materials, electrochemistry, and modeling research on better control, storage, and conversion of energy. Both bills would prohibit use of the funding they authorize for the commercial application of energy technology.