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Recently, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced $34 million to support small businesses in advancing scientific discoveries and develop and commercialize manufacturing solutions. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE’s) Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) will provide funding support to 12 new projects across 11 states, totaling nearly $2 million in funding.

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) offices award Phase I grants to small businesses that demonstrate technical feasibility for innovations during the first phase of their research. Most Phase I awards are for $150,000 for less than one year.

AMO projects were selected from two of 32 collaborative topics among multiple programs in DOE’s Office of Science. Eleven projects were selected under the Advanced Manufacturing topic, which included four subtopics:

  • Intelligent Systems for Materials Design and Discovery
  • Novel Energy-Efficient Dewatering Methods for Cellulosic Nanomaterials
  • Thermal Process Intensification for Productivity Improvements
  • Technology Transfer Opportunity: Process for the Synthesis of Precision Nanoparticles

The projects listed below will receive $150,000 under this topic award.

3D Array Technology LLC – Storrs, Connecticut

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will result in a low-cost and high-efficiency microwave-irradiation intensified scalable manufacturing of nanostructured functional devices for environmental and energy applications. The obtained strategy will enable the industrial-relevant practical application of the novel nano-array based catalysts for automotive emission.

AccuStrata Inc. – Rockville, Maryland

Catalysts are imperative to the efficiency and economy of the United States by making energy production, manufacturing and transportation more efficient and ecofriendly. This project seeks to provide a technology that will rapidly improve catalysts and keep the United States on the forefront of technological innovation.

BienaTech – Akron, Ohio

Discovery of high-efficiency catalysis frameworks vital to national advanced manufacturing goals is a challenging materials science problem. Using big data and machine learning approaches, the discovery of nanocatalysts will be accelerated.

Boston Electrometallurgical Corp. – Woburn, Massachusetts

Vanadium is a critical constituent of the high-strength steels that make cars lighter, safer, and more efficient. Boston Electromet will apply new manufacturing technology to supply the American steel industry with vanadium alloys of higher quality at a lower cost, all while saving energy in producing these alloys.

Christian Schafmeister – Merion Station, Pennsylvania

Computers are underutilized to design materials and molecules. Christian Schafmeister will develop software and "Molecular Lego" for designing materials and large molecules that purify other molecules, act as new medicines, sense other molecules, and assemble other molecules.

Compact Membrane Systems Inc. – Newport, Delaware

The proposed technology will significantly reduce capital and energy costs for converting shale gas based ethane into value added ethylene.

Faraday Technology – Englewood, Ohio

In order to enable cellulosic nanomaterials as a competitive renewable feedstock, technology must be developed to collect them from their growth medium at minimum cost. Solids processing technologies will be evaluated for effectiveness when used together for harvesting of cellulosic nanomaterials.

Physical Optics Corp. – Torrance, California

Nanocellulose is a natural and renewable polymer (paper), which has been used from ancient times but is currently finding modern applications in composite materials. The proposed technology allows dewatering the nanosized cellulose without compromising its nanoscaling.

Sep-All LLC – Ames, Iowa

Sep-All unique technology is a platform based on chemo-mechanical stresses and interface metastability at the microscale to drive a controlled separation of mixed sources into high-value micro- and nanomaterials of purified compounds (e.g. oxides, acetates), without the need to operate at high temperatures.

TDA Research Inc. – Wheat Ridge, Colorado

Cellulosic nanomaterials are a new bio-based material that requires an energy-intensive, multistep process to manufacture. TDA Research proposes a new dewatering system will reduce energy consumption and production costs of these new bio-materials that can be used in a wide range of new products in packaging, consumer electronics and pharmaceuticals.

Voxtel Inc. – Beaverton, Oregon

Technology Transfer Opportunity with Idaho National Lab‐developed nanoparticle‐synthesis methods that will be used to advance the performance of microwave radome systems for antenna improvement in the communication space.

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AMO will also fund one project under the Atomically Precise Manufacturing II topic that included a subtopic on Molecular Machine Advances. The project below will receive $225,000 under this topic award.

Covalent Inc. - Las Vegas, Nevada

Novel, atomically precise nanomaterials and nanomembranes made by mimicking nature’s construction techniques are being developed to provide ultra-low energy, low-cost, high-purity water from sources as diverse as seawater, wastewater, and water contaminated from nature, agriculture, industry and other sources.

For a full list of EERE-funded projects, view the EERE SBIR-STTR Project Spreadsheet. EERE-specific SBIR information is available on the EERE website.

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. 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.

EERE's Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) supports early-stage research to advance innovation in U.S. manufacturing and promote American economic growth and energy security.