The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will fund 49 new Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) research and development projects across 23 states, totaling nearly $53.4 million in funding. Of these projects, the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) will fund six selections totaling $6.75 million for technology innovations that improve energy efficiency, material productivity, and competitiveness for U.S. manufacturers.
Small businesses receive Phase II grants for principal research and development efforts based on the technical feasibility demonstrated in Phase I projects. Phase II awards range up to $1,150,000 for two years. The seven selected projects are:
- Global Research & Development, Inc., of Columbus, OH, will develop low-cost, energy-efficient nanoporous ceramic membrane modules for separating pure oxygen from air. This technology is applicable to both the industrial and medical sectors, such as for energy-efficient steelmaking and on-demand oxygen for ventilators.
- Luna Innovations, of Roanoke, VA, will develop a large-scale, multi-input and output separation and extraction process to convert unused salt byproducts, wastes, and carbon dioxide (CO2) into usable chemical feedstocks for the U.S. manufacturing industry. This grant may lead to a first-ever cost-effective application of CO2 direct air capture technology.
- Quantum Ventura Inc., of San Jose, CA, will demonstrate a seven-fold scale-up of the Electrochemical Recycling Electronic Constituents of Value (E-RECOV) process, a new way to remove precious metals and rare earth elements from electronics waste. This process was developed initially by Idaho National Laboratory with funding from the Critical Materials Institute.
- Sironix Renewables, of Seattle, WA, will develop a novel separations technology for a new class of hard water-effective, low-cost active ingredients for cleaning products. This technology is applicable for laundry detergents from plant-based sources that reduce manufacturing and washing machine energy use and avoid toxic byproducts.
- SixPoint Materials, Inc., of Buellton, CA, will work to commercialize a low-cost, low-defect gallium nitride substrate processing technology that will support a robust domestic supply chain for high-performance energy, defense, and industrial power electronics.
AMO will fund the following project under a joint subtopic with the Solar Energy Technologies Office:
- GVD Corp., of Cambridge, MA, will develop a thin film barrier coating to enable the manufacture of next-generation, perovskite-based solar cells at much lower cost and complexity. The coating will improve reliability and cost-competitiveness of the manufacturing process by preventing the cells from interacting with water vapor during intermediate steps of the manufacturing process and throughout the life of the solar cell.
Small businesses play a major role in spurring innovation and creating jobs in the U.S. economy. Congress created the SBIR/STTR programs to leverage small businesses to advance innovation at federal agencies. Information including the full project list is available on the DOE Office of Science SBIR/STTR website.