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. As part of last Monday’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 (Advanced Manufacturing Office, Bioenergy Technologies Office, Building Technologies Office, Fuel Cell Technologies Office, Geothermal Technologies Office, Solar Energy Technologies Office, Vehicle Technologies Office, Water Power Technologies Office and the Wind Energy Technologies Office) will fund 42 awards across 19 states under 15 topics and 26 subtopics. Highlights of the award selections include:
- AccuStrata Inc. of Rockville, Maryland, will use Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) and machine learning to rapidly improve catalysts which are imperative to the efficiency and economy of the United States by making energy production, manufacturing and transportation more efficient and eco-friendly.
- Mainstream Engineering Corporation of Rockledge, Florida, is developing a hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) process to convert food wastes to renewable diesel and jet fuels that will improve yield and quality, and reduce aqueous byproducts to advance commercial adoption.
- InventWood LLC of College Park, Maryland, is working to optimize and scale-up development of Nanowood, a green, structural, lightweight, cost-effective, thermal-insulation material made out of wood.
- TDA Research Inc. of Wheat Ridge, Colorado, is developing smart hydrogen storage tanks that will reduce the operating costs of the fuel cell electric vehicles, increasing their adoption and reducing the consumption of fuels for transportation needs. These tanks use Phase Change Media (PCM) to quickly absorb the heat of compression, and microstructures in the tank inlet and wall to provide active gas circulation inside the tank during refueling to rapidly transfer the heat generated to the PCM.
- TerraCOH Inc. of Minnetonka, Minnesota, will use CO2 Plume Geothermal (CPG) technology to expand geothermal power as a cost-effective, dispatchable energy source by using carbon dioxide as a heat-transfer fluid below ground, turning CO2 from a liability into a resource.
- Sunvapor Inc. of Livermore, California, will use a robotic, automated method to overcome the high labor costs involved in assembling parabolic trough solar collectors. This method will also improve quality and can be easily mobilized to new construction sites.
- SafeLi of Shorewood, Wisconsin, will manufacture active anode materials and composites for Lithium Ion Batteries to enhance safety, expedite charging, improve energy efficiency and range, and reduce cost.
- Tetramer Technologies LLC of Pendleton, South Carolina, is developing biodegradable hydropower turbine oil sourced from renewable materials, providing cost and performance benefits as well as mitigating environmental effects from potential spills and leaks.
- Aquanis Inc. of East Greenwich, Rhode Island, is developing a new blade coating that will reduce damage to wind turbine blades caused by lightning by promoting the formation of ionization channels over the surface of the turbine blades. Every year, the global wind industry loses an estimated $100M or more to damage caused by lightning.
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. 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. 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.