The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced awards totaling $137 million for small businesses in 30 states.  The 120 projects include projects addressing multiple mission areas across the Department including clean energy, cybersecurity, high energy physics, and nuclear nonproliferation.

The selected projects include six funded through DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO). The BETO-funded projects cover topics from waste-to-energy, to plastics recycling, to sustainable aviation fuel, and more.

“Research and innovation from small businesses are some of the most important work that is being done to build our bioenergy economy,” said BETO Director, Valerie Sarisky-Reed. “The selected projects span BETO’s portfolio and provide crucial next steps for our work.”

American small business plays a critical role in facilitating the transition from discovery to innovation, helping create a bridge between the scientific laboratory and the commercial marketplace. DOE Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards strive to transform DOE-supported science and technology breakthroughs into viable products and services. The awards also support the development of specialized technologies and instruments that aid in scientific discovery. 

Through the SBIR/STTR program across the federal government, small business powers the U.S. economy and generates thousands of jobs, both directly and indirectly.

Funded through the DOE’s SBIR/STTR program, today’s selections are for Phase II research and development.  Small businesses that demonstrated technical feasibility for innovations during their Phase I grants competed for funding for prototype or processes development during Phase II.  In addition, prior Phase II awardees competed for second or third Phase II awards to continue prototype and process development.  The median Phase II award is $1,100,000 for a period of two years.  The funding for the selected projects comes from the DOE’s Office of Science. 




Funding Amount

Invizyne Technologies, Inc.

Cell-Free Production of Terpenoid Chemical Astaxanthin Using Crude Cofactor Lysates

There is a critical need to improve the efficiencies of bio-based chemical to compete with and displace petrochemicals. This project will develop a promising new technology for efficient bioconversions by utilizing waste streams of microorganisms to reduce the cost of cofactors, one of the major cost drivers of the process.



iZen ai, Inc.

Skill In a Flash (SIF)

The lack of skilled workers is hindering the growth of the US bioeconomy, disproportionately affecting small and rural businesses, and also impacting representation and inclusivity. This innovation provides a platform to deliver workplace-aligned eLearning programs to rural businesses, schools, and underserved communities with or without Internet/computers, making eLearning more equitable.





Efficient Compatibilization of Isotactic Polypropylene (iPP) and High-density Polyethylene (HDPE) Blends

Mixed plastic recycling rates are low, as common polymers are difficult to separate, and resulting blends exhibit poor mechanical properties. Intermix proposes to develop a cost-effective method for creating blended polymers with superior mechanical properties rivaling virgin plastics, to encourage a more circular plastics economy.


Hexas Biomass Inc.

High Yield Bioenergy Crop Production for Fertilizer Runoff Capture, Soil Stabilization, and Soil Regeneration in Northern California

Hexas Biomass Inc. will focus its Phase II SBIR grant work on making sure the non- wood biomass it produces is optimal to produce sustainable aviation fuel to support decarbonization of the aviation industry through the use of biomass for fuel.



Minitorr: Small-Scale, Portable, Decentralized, Community-Scale Biomass Pretreatment Systems to Reduce Feedstock Procurement Costs and Advance Rural Climate Justice

Rural communities are often shut out from the benefits of bioeconomy as their crop/forest residues are too loose, wet, bulky, and expensive to transport to centralized bioconversion facilities. Takachar develops small-scale, low-cost, portable systems that can latch onto the back of tractors and pick-up trucks to deploy to rural communities to locally upgrade/densify the non-merchantable residues into higher-value products for local consumption or for transportation at more than 50% reduced cost. This is expected to generate new jobs in underserved rural communities, reduce residue buildup that often causes catastrophic wildfires, and mitigate both local air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.


Rockytech, Ltd

Polyolefin Upcycling Through Dynamic Covalent Crosslinking

The ever-increasing production of plastics, their rapid disposal, and the current poor recycling mechanisms have raised significant concerns over the detrimental impacts of plastic waste on the environment and human health. We develop a readily scalable upcycling method to transform low-grade recycled thermoplastic blends into value- added materials through reactive compatibilization.