AMO to Fund 7 Projects to Stimulate Technological Innovation

August 5, 2019

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AMO Selects 7 Small Businesses for Research and Development Grants to Stimulate Technological Innovation

American small businesses received a near-$44 million boost from the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. According to EERE’s announcement, small businesses are receiving Phase II Release 2 grants that demonstrate commercial feasibility for innovations during the second phase of their research. Phase II awards range from $975,000 to $1,150,000, with a duration of two years.

Nine EERE technology offices will fund 42 awards under 15 topics and 26 subtopics. EERE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) sought follow-on applications for projects that received AMO Phase I funding in FY 2018 or AMO Phase II funding in FY 2017. Of the 42 projects selected, AMO will fund seven projects:

  • Physical Optics Corporation of Torrance, CA will develop a prototype that uses a non-uniform electric field to remove water from nanocellulose (a natural and renewable polymer traditionally used in paper) in a way that does not reduce its strength and other properties, enabling its use in several advanced manufacturing applications.
  • Faraday Technology, Inc. of Englewood, OH, will develop a cost-effective system combining efficient electric drying with harvesting of cellulosic nanomaterials that does not reduce their strength and other properties, thus enabling its use in composite materials and other advanced manufacturing applications.
  • Advanced Energy Materials, LLC of Louisville, KY will develop a new class of catalysts for sulfur removal from fuels that will reduce steps and save energy in purifying and enhancing properties of natural gas, thus reducing the cost of refining transportation fuels.
  • Applied Spectra, Inc. of Fremont, CA will develop a cost-effective portable spectroscopy tool (faster and “greener” than present-day acidic digestion technologies) to enable onsite process control and thus improve efficiency and quality of petroleum refinery technology. 
  • Accustrata, Inc. of Rockville, MD will use spectroscopy data combined with machine learning to develop a technology to rapidly improve key catalysts that will make energy production, manufacturing, and transportation more efficient.
  • Thirdlaw, LLC of Merion Station, PA will use cloud-based programming and machine learning to design macromolecular catalysts and atomically precise membranes that could dramatically reduce manufacturing energy use.
  • Compact Membrane Systems, Inc. of Newport, DE will develop a robust membrane for high purity (greater than 99.9%) and high efficiency separation of ethylene (a high value chemical) from ethane that costs 25% less than traditional distillation processes.

AMO will also co-fund one Phase II project each with the Building Technologies Office, Wind Energy Technology Office, Water Power Technologies Office, and the Solar Energy Technologies Office. 

  • Inventwood LLC of College Park, MD for research and development (R&D) on lightweight and thermally insulating nanowood in building applications.
  • Aquanis, Inc. of East Greenwich, RI for R&D on a wind turbine blade surface coating that reduces damage due to lightning.
  • Tetramer Technologies, LLC of Pendleton, SC for R&D on a biodegradable lubricant in hydropower applications.
  • Acme Express, Inc. of Cleveland, OH for manufacturing R&D on a solar array racking system.

Small businesses play a major role in spurring innovation and creating jobs in the U.S. economy. The SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs were created by Congress to leverage small businesses to advance innovation at federal agencies. DOE developed Technology Transfer Opportunity subtopics as a way for small businesses to partner with national laboratories on research and development needed to speed commercialization of national laboratory inventions. Information on the DOE SBIR and STTR programs is available on the Office of Science SBIR website. Additional information can be found on the EERE SBIR/STTR website as well. Contact us with feedback, ideas for future topics, or to volunteer to review future proposals.

AMO supports early-stage research to advance innovation in U.S. manufacturing and promote American economic growth and energy security.