U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced $127 million to support 110 continuing research and development projects in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. This investment includes more than $12 million funded by the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), for technology innovations that improve energy efficiency, material productivity, and competitiveness for U.S. manufacturers. 

AMO selected 11 projects to advance to Phase II of the SBIR/STTR program based on their progress during Phase I and their potential to advance manufacturing technologies and practices from the following focus areas:

Topic 6a: Atomic Precision for Energy Efficient and Clean Energy-Related Microelectronics

AMO has selected four projects that will strengthen America’s semiconductor industry. These projects are developing technologies that will:

  • Develop tools for semiconductor manufacturers that enable ultra-precision manufacturing 
  • Significantly improve the speed and efficiency of bipolar junction transistors
  • Significantly reduce the cost and improve performance of ultra-efficient phase change memory storage
  • Enable the manufacture of ultra-energy efficient carbon nanotube field effect transistors. 

Topic 6c: Critical Materials Supply Chain Enabling Research

AMO has selected four projects that provide American industries greater access to materials critical to our nation’s economic and national security. Projects will:

  • Develop novel rare earth recycling and value recovery technologies, including from electronics waste streams
  • Scale up a novel magnesium extrusion alloy that can provide a 25% weight reduction for automotive components
  • Develop a material that can directly replace tungsten, a strategic resource, in key applications.

Topic 6d: Water Desalination: Cost-effective Energy-Recovery for Modular Desalination Systems.

AMO awarded funding to one project that targets the $290 million and 2.2 megatons of CO2 emissions in annual energy waste from water purifications systems.

This technology will increase the commercial viability of water reuse and desalination facilities. These facilities are necessary infrastructure for achieving the objectives of DOE’s Water Security Grand Challenge.

Topic 17a: Water, Wind, And Advanced Manufacturing Technologies Offices Joint Topic: Affordable, Grid-Friendly, High-Torque Direct-Drive Generators

AMO and the Water Power Technologies Office will co-fund a project developing a compact power converter with high waveform quality for direct-drive renewable energy generators.

This technology has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of wind installations compared to the currently deployed state-of-the-art wind energy. The proposed technology also has applications for utility-scale solar energy and train locomotives.

Topic 17b: Geothermal and Advanced Manufacturing Office Joint Topic: Desalination and Critical Material Recovery Systems.

AMO selected one project working to recover lithium from geothermal sources and other geologic waters using a novel membrane system. 

Lithium is a critical material for electric vehicles and utility-scale energy storage. As such, secure and reliable access to lithium is vital for achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. This project supports DOE’s Energy Storage Grand Challenge.

For a full list of AMO-selected and co-selected projects, visit the AMO website.

Information on the DOE SBIR and STTR programs is available on the Office of Science SBIR website.