The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's (EERE) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs (STTR) offer seed funding to small businesses in order to support development and commercialization of novel ideas and ground-breaking research. The Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) has selected four projects for Phase I funding within the topic area of environmentally-acceptable lubricants for hydropower applications.
Polnox Corporation of Lowell, Massachusetts, will develop environmentally friendly hydraulic fluids and lubricant formulations for turbine and hydraulic systems in hydropower stations using two of the company's proprietary additives and additional treatments to improve performance. Two main tasks will be completed during this project: (1) identifying and selecting suitable base stock oils which are thermally stable, biodegradable, and non-toxic to the aquatic environment and (2) identifying, selecting, and optimizing eco-friendly additives.
Artesion, Inc. of Federal Way, Washington, will develop an environmentally-acceptable hydraulic fluid for hydropower applications that will be based off of a preexisting fluid blend developed by Washington State University. Artesion's work will concentrate on refining the composition of the hydraulic fluid in order to optimize environmental acceptability, reliability, and performance for use in hydropower governor applications, which control the flow of water through turbines.
Tetramer Technologies, L.L.C. of Pendleton, South Carolina, will create a series of synthetic biodegradable lubricants that will be subjected to in-depth physical tests to determine optimal candidates for commercial applications. Physical property evaluation of the lubricants will focus on the analysis of thermal properties, viscosity, rust, and wear properties.
RiKarbon, Inc. of Newark, Delaware, will use their proprietary technology to produce environmentally-acceptable lubricants (BioLubesRK) from natural oils and plant matters. RiKarbon's goals are to evaluate various properties and the biodegradability of BioLubesRK as well as conducting process design and techno-economic analysis.
Both SBIR and STTR programs were created by Congress to support the nation's economy through providing a platform for investing federal research funds into projects with high scientific and technological potential. Nearly $13 million in funding will be provided by EERE to a total of 87 projects in 34 states. For a full list of EERE-funded projects, view the press release and the EERE SBIR-STTR Project Spreadsheet. EERE-specific SBIR information is available on the EERE website.