Small businesses fuel the American economy. But for businesses to succeed in launching new commercial energy products, they often need unique facilities and outside experts to help test, develop, and validate their innovative products. The U.S. national laboratories can provide this assistance, but getting in the door is a challenge most small businesses can't overcome.
EERE's Small Business Vouchers (SBV) program opens the national labs to qualified clean energy small businesses by making the contracting process simple, lab practices transparent, and access to the labs' unique facilities affordable. Most importantly, SBV gives U.S. clean energy small businesses an incredible competitive advantage in the global marketplace, and increases national lab awareness of the challenges small businesses face in the energy sector.
Partnering to Meet Technical Challenges
Through SBV, eligible small businesses can tap into the reserve of national laboratory intellectual and technical assets to overcome critical technology challenges, including:
- Materials characterization
- High performance computations
- Modeling and simulations
- Intermediate scaling to generate samples for potential customers
- Validation of technology performance
- Designing new ways to satisfy regulatory compliance
114 small businesses from 31 different states are currently working with U.S. national labs. Two projects from the second round were recently featured on EERE's blog. Learn about how self-flying drones are making wind turbine inspections safer and faster in the "Self-Flying Drones and Wind Turbine Blade: The New Way of Collecting Data" article. Also, see how a woman-owned bioenergy start-up is changing the way biopolymers are made in the piece, "New Process Being Tested for Biodegradable Plastics."