As part of today’s $34 million announcement by U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Rick Perry 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) will fund 87 new projects across 34 states, totaling nearly $13 million in funding.
DOE technology 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. If completed successfully, Phase I projects are eligible for Phase II. Phase II funding awards provide up to $1 million or up to $1.5 million, depending on the technology, and an award known as a sequential Phase II award can provide up to an additional $1 million.
Nine EERE technology offices are funding 10 Phase I topic areas (Advanced Manufacturing I & II, Bioenergy, Buildings, Fuel Cells, Geothermal. Solar, Vehicles, Water, and Wind) across 29 subtopics. Some examples of EERE-funded projects include the following:
- Christian Schafmeister of Merion Station, Pennsylvania, will develop software and a “Molecular Lego” for designing large molecules that sense, assemble, and purify other molecules with many applications, including new medicines. (Advanced Manufacturing Office)
- Bio-Missions LLC of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, will use engineered clostridia to produce butanol from cellulosic biomass and carbon dioxide. (Bioenergy Technologies Office)
- InventWood, LLC, of Hyattsville, Maryland, will work to develop a structural thermal insulation material out of wood. (Building Technologies Office)
- TDA Research Inc. of Wheat Ridge, Colorado, will develop a smart hydrogen tank design that uses active cooling of the hot gas (reduction of 20°C or more) during fast refueling. (Fuel Cell Technologies Office)
- Porifera Inc. of San Leandro California, is working on a more energy-efficient process to concentrate brines and wastewater generated by geothermal power production using geothermal heat to reach higher concentrations and treat problematic waste water. (Geothermal Technologies Office)
- InnoSys of Salt Lake City, Utah, will conduct R&D on de-energizing photovoltaic systems that supports technology transfer of NREL intellectual property. (Solar Energy Technologies)
- Navitas of Ann Arbor, Michigan, will develop higher energy lithium ion batteries with a lower cost and size for electric vehicles and consumer electronics. (Vehicle Technologies Office)
- Polnox Corporation of Lowell, Massachusetts, will develop environmentally friendly hydraulic fluids and lubricant formulations for turbine and hydraulic systems in hydropower stations. (Water Power Technologies Office)
- Aquanis Inc. of East Greenwich, Rhode Island, will develop a wind turbine blade surface coating to reduce damage due to lightning. (Wind Energy Technologies Office)
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.