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Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) are U.S. Government programs in which federal agencies with large research and development (R&D) budgets set aside a small fraction of their funding for competitions among small businesses only. Small businesses that win awards in these programs keep the rights to any technology developed and are encouraged to commercialize the technology.

Hydropower Topic:

Innovative Very Low-head and Instream Current Water Power Turbine-Generator Technologies

There are a number of studies that show very low head hydropower potential as well as instream hydrokinetic resource potential in the United States. Some of these resource assessments referenced at:

To harness energy from these resources, applications are sought for innovative modular and water power turbine-generator (unit) technologies that can be rapidly deployed and retrieved with a useable life of around 20 years. Both hydropower technologies and in-stream hydrokinetic technologies will be considered. Such technologies should be scalable to generate no less than 50 kilowatts of power per unit at very low heads of less than 10 feet or instream currents (in rivers, streams, canals or natural and man-made waterways). Please note that ocean current or tidal current technologies are not of interest under this subtopic.

Applicants must provide a detailed description of their technology including the following parameters:

  1. Type of resource targeted for the technology
  2. Minimum and maximum head or the water level difference between the entrance and exit to be used for power generation
  3. Minimum and Maximum discharge through the units for power generation
  4. Device Rating in terms of kilowatts. This is typically the maximum sustainable power output of a device on a continuous basis without failure. Normally, the peak power rating of a device is greater than the rated capacity
  5. Projected unit or device dimensions including weight
  6. Type of materials proposed to be used
  7. Targeted Levelized Cost of Energy including Annual Energy Production and associated resource intensity; assumed useful life; Installation and Operation and Maintenance costs; and unit cost with a justification
  8. Modularity and scalable aspects of the technology
  9. Environmental acceptability of the technology.

The applicants should also detail how they propose to utilize the grant to advance the technology and if successful, the commercialization potential of the technology.

SBIR and STTR Hydropower Schedule:

  • Letter of Intent Due Date: Monday, December 21, 2015
  • Application Due Date: Tuesday, February 09, 2016
  • Award Notification Date: Early May 2016*
  • Start of Grant Budget Period: Monday, June 13, 2016*

*Dates subject to change