The Energy Department recently announced it will award 263 research and development grants totaling $116 million to 184 small businesses in 41 states—including four grants for water power projects. Funded through DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, Phase I grants enable small businesses to research technical feasibility of new innovations that advance the Department’s mission. Phase II grants let prior Phase I grantees develop novel prototypes or processes to validate their Phase I research findings.

Highlighted below are the water power grantees selected for both Phase I and Phase II:

  • Creare, LLC of Hanover, New Hampshire, will develop a technology for low-cost desalination—the process of removing salt from seawater—in coastal regions afflicted with water scarcity by harnessing power from ocean and tidal currents.

  • Resolute Marine Energy, Inc. of Boston, Massachusetts, will research a wave energy-powered, fresh water production solution that can cost-effectively solve water security problems facing underserved markets.

  • Physical Optics Corporation of Torrance, California, will develop a system to convert salinity gradient— the energy available from the difference in the salt concentration between seawater and river water— to electric power, which in turn will be applied to produce Hydrogen and fresh desalinated water. The hydrogen produced may be stored, transported, and used in remote locations as a clean energy source.

  • Concepts NREC of White River Junction, Vermont, Phase II project is developing an innovative modular 50-kW “drop-in” unit to generate 50 kW at 3.5 m (10 ft) head— the change in water levels between the hydropower intake and discharge point measured in vertical height. Modular technologies use separate, similar components—constructed off-site—that can be easily integrated and scaled to greater capacities. The work supports innovative low-head and instream current water power turbine-generator technologies that can rapidly be deployed and retrieved with a useable lifespan of 20 years.

Small businesses play a major role in spurring innovation and creating jobs in the U.S. economy. The SBIR and STTR programs were created by Congress to leverage small businesses to advance innovation at federal agencies. Learn more information about the projects