The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) recognizes the critical role public-private partnerships play in accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy. American small businesses continue to drive job creation and economic growth. Fueled by the spirit of innovation, invention, and entrepreneurship, they are a backbone of the U.S. economy and have a tremendous opportunity to help America lead the clean energy race.
In March, EERE announced 33 small businesses selected to participate in the first round of its Small Business Vouchers (SBV) pilot. SBV connects small businesses and clean energy innovators with the top-notch scientists, engineers, and world-class facilities at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories. With the first round of partnerships well underway, SBV has announced a second round of 43 companies selected to receive vouchers.
- Available Funding: Up to $20 million provided as technical aid from the national laboratories.
- Voucher Amounts: Up to $300,000 per business to fund either collaborative projects or technical assistance; each small business must provide 20% matching funds or in-kind services.
- Eligibility: U.S.-owned and U.S.-based for-profit businesses with fewer than 500 employees focused on clean energy technologies in EERE’s program areas.
- Technical Areas: advanced manufacturing, bioenergy, building technologies, fuel cells, geothermal, solar, vehicles, water power, and wind.
The selected small businesses will address clean energy technologies in nine technical areas: advanced manufacturing, bioenergy, buildings, fuel cells, geothermal, solar, vehicles, water, and wind. Additionally, the second round introduces three new national labs to the program with whom businesses will partner.
Inspiring Unique Public-Private Collaborations
One of the new SBV selectees, Elko Heat Company, received a $200,000 voucher to work with Lawrence Berkley National Lab on geothermal development near the city of Wells, Nevada, where geologists have identified a tremendous geothermal asset that can be leveraged for economic development. By partnering with the city, Elko Heat has a unique opportunity to strengthen its company while significantly impacting the local economy and environment. Elko Heat is one of 14 small businesses receiving vouchers this round that have never before partnered with DOE or its national laboratories, demonstrating the diversity SBV draws and fulfilling the pilot’s goal of increasing access to our national labs.
SiNode Systems, another small business selected in SBV’s second round, is a battery materials venture developing silicon-graphene anodes for the next generation of lithium-ion batteries. With the help of previous public and private awards, SiNode Systems has reached a turning point in commercializing their technology. However, the company recognizes the next barriers in bringing their product to market and the resources needed to overcome them. By taking advantage of the SBV pilot through DOE, SiNode Systems will be able to work directly with Argonne National Laboratory to solve their product’s new technical and commercial challenges.
Stay Tuned for SBV Round 3
SBV’s third round of competition will open soon – visit www.SBV.org to learn more about the pilot and how to apply for the third round. To sign up to receive updates about SBV, please email EERELabImpact@ee.doe.gov.