The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) recently announced $22 million to boost Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR). As part of this effort, EERE's Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) is providing nearly $2.8 million for 14 projects to stimulate technological innovation through SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer programs (STTR). Small business programs create pathways for AMO to engage with small research and development enterprises to advance scientific discoveries and develop manufacturing solutions.
AMO sought applications in the following subtopics: Manufacturing Cybersecurity; Atomic Precision for Gaseous Separations; Covetic Processing of Critical Materials and Strategic Materials; and Electrochemical Recycling Electronic Constituents of Value (E-RECOV). AMO will also fund two projects with EERE's Solar Energy Technologies Office; two projects with the Geothermal Technologies Office; and three projects with the Fuel Cell Technologies Office. These projects will receive Phase I Release 2 funding of approximately $200,000 for a period of performance of 6 to 12 months.
The 14 AMO-funded projects are:
- Secmation of Raleigh, NC will develop a prototype security solution to enhance the cybersecurity of older, traditional manufacturing equipment as well as new wireless technologies.
- Wingbrace, LLC of Hingham, MA will develop a cloud-ready detection and situational awareness application that, once configured, will implement a machine learning engine that can detect data anomalies.
- TDA Research, Inc. of Wheat Ridge, CO will create an inexpensive atomically precise membrane that can purify natural gas in a single step with very low energy use.
- Mainstream Engineering, Corp. of Rockledge, FL will develop atomically precise, energy efficient membranes assembled from “Molecular Lego” to separate hydrocarbon mixtures.
- GDC Industries, LLC of Beavercreek, OH will develop a continuous flow reactor to provide consistent, high-quality aluminum- graphene mixtures—called aluminum covetics—with significant higher thermal and/or electrical conductivity than aluminum alone.
- NAECO, LLC of Peachtree City, GA will fabricate electrical contact assemblies from covetic copper—a unique higher conductivity form of copper tenaciously bonded with graphene ribbons— to determine if it is suitable for real world applications.
- Quantum Ventura, Inc. of San Jose, CA will develop a manufacturing scale process to enable commercialization of an Idaho National Laboratory electrochemical technology that recovers high value materials, reduces reagent use and lessens the toxicity of recycling waste electronics.
- GVD Corp. of Cambridge, MA will develop a gas barrier coating to enable the economical manufacture of next-generation solar cells based on perovskites.
- NanoFlex Power Corporation of Scottsdale, AZ will address the high electricity demand of commercial buildings by developing building-integrated organic solar modules for low-cost renewable power.
- Bettergy Corp. of Peekskill, NY will develop a process to recover lithium from highly mineralized brine that makes it possible to reuse and recycle the treated waste water.
- Technology Holding, LLC of Salt Lake City, UT aims to develop transformative nanoporous atomically thin graphene membranes that enable energy-efficient, cost-effective liquid filtration for rare earth materials recovery and water desalination.
- NuMat Technologies, Inc. of Skokie, IL will determine if metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) can be used to remove impurities from hydrogen gas streams at the point of use.
- Supercool Metals of New Haven, CT will assess the use of bulk metallic glasses in hydrogen environments under pressures and temperatures associated with hydrogen refueling.
- NanoSonic, Inc. of Pembroke, VA will develop segmented and block copolymer proton conducting membranes for fuel cells with a structure that features high conductivity, low permeability, high stability, and high mechanical/chemical durability.
Small businesses play a major role in spurring innovation and creating jobs in the U.S. economy. Congress created the SBIR and STTR programs to leverage small businesses to advance innovation at federal agencies.
EERE's Advanced Manufacturing Office supports early-stage research to advance innovation in U.S. manufacturing and promote American economic growth and energy security.