On January 18, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a $65 million funding opportunity to support projects through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. This investment includes $1.8 million for Phase I/Release 2 projects funded by the Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office (IEDO), within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

The SBIR and STTR programs were created by Congress to leverage small businesses to advance innovation at federal agencies. Through the SBIR and STTR programs, IEDO provides non-dilutive funding to small business research and development projects that improve energy efficiency and drive industrial decarbonization. 

The IEDO-funded topic focuses on high-impact industrial innovations, including research, development, and pilot demonstration (RD&D) projects, and technology partnerships to drive U.S. industrial decarbonization, productivity, and economic competitiveness. The topic includes the following subtopics:

  • Enabling Industrial Grid Interactivity: IEDO seeks controls-based solutions, including integrated systems of advanced sensors, controls, data platforms, and industrial energy resources, to enable industrial load flexibility and grid interactivity. Industrial electrification combined with the use of clean electricity is a key strategy for decarbonizing the industrial sector. Newly electrified loads that can operate flexibly and provide grid services can ease the transition to an improved energy system by increasing the operational efficiency of the electric grid. 
  • Energy Efficient Gas Separations: IEDO seeks grant applications to advance scalable technologies that provide substantial improvements in the selectivity and permeance of current industrial gas separations. This subtopic focuses on the advancement of manufacturing processes that can produce membranes with exceptional selectivity for separation of gas mixtures. High selectivity membranes offer the potential to provide game-changing process energy advances.
  • Innovations in Heat Exchange Processes, Equipment, and Integration Approaches for Deep Waste Heat Recovery: IEDO seeks innovative concepts, designs, or industrial solutions aimed at significantly improving the recovery of waste heat (WHR) generated by industrial operations. This subtopic focuses on innovative processes, equipment, and integration approaches to provide deep WHR in industrial processes by efficiently and cost-effectively recovering both sensible and latent heat to achieve specific targets. Innovative heat exchange processes cost-effectively employed into industrial WHR systems can lead to reduced energy consumption, compactness, and thereby, easier integration into existing industrial operations.
  • Renewable Hybridization of the Industrial Processes: IEDO seeks original innovative solutions on renewable energy assistance to decarbonize U.S. industry. Special interest is in fully integrated technological concepts that can provide a high impact to industrial operations in terms of energy efficiency improvement and carbon footprint reduction. Energy input from renewable sources can replace fossil fuels in a wide variety of industrial applications, including, chemical production and petroleum refining, iron and steel, cement, papermaking, and the food and beverage industries, which account for 15% of the U.S. economy’s total carbon emissions.

American small businesses play a critical role in bridging the gap between the laboratory and the commercial marketplace. The SBIR and STTR programs have helped thousands of small businesses and entrepreneurs develop the cutting-edge technologies required to accelerate our transition to a clean energy future.

View the full funding opportunity. Applications must be responsive to the above subtopics and clearly indicate the subtopic number in the letter of intent. Letters of intent are due Friday, February 2, 2024, at 5:00 P.M. ET, and full applications are due Tuesday, March 12, 2024, at 11:59 P.M. ET. For more information on the DOE SBIR and STTR programs visit the Office of Science SBIR website, or view the archived topics webinar.