As part of today’s $53 million announcement by U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) research and development projects, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced selection of 106 new projects across 26 states, totaling nearly $21.3 million in funding.

The selected small businesses are receiving Phase I grants that demonstrate technical feasibility for innovations during the first phase of their research. Most Phase I awards are $200,000 for a performance period of less than one year.

The nine EERE technology offices will fund awards under 12 topics, one for each Technology Office (Advanced Manufacturing, Bioenergy, Buildings, Fuel Cells, Geothermal, Solar, Vehicles, Water, and Wind) and three joint office topics (Advanced Manufacturing with Bioenergy, with Buildings, and with Wind & Water). Highlights of the award selections include:

  • TdVib of Boone, IA will research the scale-up of acid-free dissolution recycling critical materials, including cobalt and rare earth elements, from e-waste containing both neodymium and samarium cobalt magnets.  Critical minerals are crucial components in permanent magnets, electric vehicles, smartphones, and more.
  • MicroContinuum of Cambridge, MA will research a new form of roll-to-roll manufacturing for organic LEDs, like that used to make printed newspapers and magazines, but with nanoscale ‘printed’ structures that can overcome technical barriers to commercialization.
  • Luna Innovations of Roanoke, VA proposes a conversion technology for ocean plastic wastes that uses a nano compatibilizer (an additive), which allows combination of a wide selection of disposed plastics. This project represents the first known attempt for the low-cost production of a multi-component spinnable polymeric blend from recycled plastics.
  • Alchemr of Boca Raton, FL aims to develop and test a new anion exchange membrane electrolyzer which will enable fuels and chemicals to be manufactured at off-shore locations. This will enable offshore wind energy to be utilized to generate hydrogen without requiring major transmission infrastructure to be built.
  • Projeo Corporation of Champaign, IL aims to cost-effectively store renewable geothermal energy in the subsurface and improve initial investment risk by leveraging existing oil and gas infrastructure.
  • Tau Science Corporation of Hillsboro, OR will use microwave photoconductance spectrometers to control the quality of next generation solar panels using thin-film deposited semiconductor materials.
  • CAMX Power of Lexington, MA will research strategies to reduce the cost of manufacturing high-performance metal oxide cathode materials, which is key to reducing the overall cost of batteries for Electric Vehicles.
  • Sanchez Engineering Services of Alexandria, VA will develop a novel remote wind measurement instrument that uses the principles behind holograms to determine wind velocity and direction for wind turbine control and wind site assessment.  The project will complete a conceptual prototype design to validate cost advantages of the method.
  • Flying Gybe of Portland, OR will use satellite imagery to provide hydropower operators with crucial water quality parameters such as turbidity and sediment loads, as well as information about issues that could adversely affect operations like algal blooms or invasive species infestation that may result in the clogging of turbine screens. 

Small businesses play a major role in spurring innovation and creating jobs in the U.S. economy. The SBIR and STTR programs were created by Congress to leverage small businesses to advance innovation at federal agencies. Information on the DOE SBIR and STTR programs is available on the Office of Science SBIR website.