The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is focused on alternative vehicle technologies, specifically lithium ion batteries, thermoelectric systems and new aerodynamic trailers, and this week announced $29.3 million in cost-share funding for a group of projects that will support its goal “to protect our national and economic security by promoting a diverse supply and delivery of reliable, affordable and environmentally sound alternative energy.” http://www.energy.gov/news/6768.htm Most of the recipients are larger firms (3M, GM, FMC Corp. and Ford) but some small companies like publicly-traded *Amerigon (Nasdaq:ARGN) are partners. Amerigon subsidiary BSST LLC is partnering with Ford to develop an efficient thermoelectric heating and cooling system for automobiles that will substantially reduce energy consumption, engine load and ultimately greenhouse gas emissions. The basic idea is to create a thermoelectric system that will heat and cool the occupants in an automobile without having to heat the entire cabin and its components, and save lots of energy and fuel in the process. Other partners in the project include Visteon, Ohio State University and DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory but BSST is a global leader in thermoelectric technology and will be doing most of the heavy lifting designing the core heating and cooling system. The system is an enhanced version of Amerigon’s Climate Control Seat system offered in automobiles manufactured by Ford, GM, Hyundai, Toyota and Nissan.