Funding to Boost American Small Businesses in Developing Clean Energy Technologies

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced awards totaling $54 million for diverse small businesses working on scientific, clean energy, and climate solutions for the American people. Of the 266 projects announced today, DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will award $22 million in funding for 110 projects to develop a range of American-made cutting-edge technologies to help accelerate the national transition to a clean energy economy.

“We are proud to support these promising entrepreneurs to take their ventures to the next level,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman. “These projects will advance market-oriented solutions to tackle the global climate emergency and ensure that the next great technological advancements are made right here in the United States.”

Awardees will receive critical seed funding to develop proof-of-concept prototypes in various areas of energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, and renewable power. Awardees embody the diversity of the nation’s entrepreneurs across 32 states and Washington, DC. More than 50% of the EERE selected projects met the criteria for the HUBZone requirements, focusing on the growth of historically underutilized business zones, were a first-time applicant or a women-owned business.

The funding comes from DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, which to date has helped thousands of American small businesses and entrepreneurs test and prototype innovative clean energy breakthroughs with the potential toward commercialization.

Successful awards of this phase of funding will be eligible to apply for the next phase of awards in spring 2022  for the development of technological solutions that will accelerate these projects to market.

Of the total 110 EERE awardees’ projects, select examples include:

  • Workforce Development Bioenergy Experiential Learning Tool by Pathways United, St. Louis, Missouri. This workforce development bioenergy tool will use technology to help build workforce capacity in underrepresented populations. This project promotes economic and workforce development for underrepresented and underserved communities while providing a cleaner environment, renewable, sustainable energy, and green energy.
  • Optimizing Liquid Free Ionomer Binders for High-Temperature Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells for Heavy Duty Vehicles by Ionomer Solutions (with Louisiana State University) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana: This project will develop a new membrane material for a type of hydrogen fuel cell attractive for use in heavy duty vehicles. By driving greater deployment of heavy-duty trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells, this project holds the potential of helping to decarbonize the transportation sector, the single largest source of carbon emissions in the United States.
  • Conductive Lightweight Hybrid Polymer Composites from Recycled Carbon Fibers Rockytech, Ltd, in Boulder, Colorado: Rockytech Ltd., will develop upcycling of chopped and milled carbon fibers into lightweight, low-cost, high strength conductive composites. This technology has the potential of contributing to EERE’s long-term goal of decarbonizing transportation across all modes.
  • Ice-Storage and Other Thermal Storage-Related Systems (CABLE), Mainstream Engineering Corporation, in Rockledge, Florida: This project will leverage advanced materials and manufacturing techniques to develop a low cost thermal energy storage system that could be retrofitted into existing residential and/or commercial heating and cooling systems. Such a system could help contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of buildings in the U.S.

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