DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) recently announced awards of $57 million to 53 projects by 51 American small businesses and entrepreneurs to help tackle the climate crisis through market-oriented solutions and emerging technologies. The announcement is part of DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer program, which has helped thousands of American small businesses and entrepreneurs test and prototype innovative clean energy breakthroughs with the potential toward commercialization. The most recent announcement comprises Phase II funding awarded to businesses based on initial success of their Phase I awards, including awards to support projects closer to commercialization potential.
EERE’s Phase II SBIR awards include several wind energy-related projects, with three funded by the Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO); one joint topic by WETO, the Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO), and the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO); and two projects under the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Technologies Office (HFTO):
- Arctura, Inc., South Kingstown, RI ($1,150,000)—WETO-funded project to develop a coating to help reduce damage to wind turbine blades from lightning strikes. Phase IIB work will include field testing in an operational wind farm, augmented with large-scale laboratory tests of the product. The company aims to achieve sufficient results to reach product roll-out in 2023.
- Pecos Wind Power, Somerville, MA ($1,149,961)—WETO-funded project to develop a novel tilt-up tower and installation system to standardize turbine installation and reduce costs of 21-100kW wind turbines. The company intends to develop a full-scale prototype in Phase II, with goals to achieve technical and commercial validation.
- Deep Reach Technology, Stafford/Houston, TX ($1,077,743)—WETO-funded project to develop a sensor system that can gather subsurface data in the ocean during the installation process. The system will eliminate the need to predrill data-collection holes (called boreholes) during offshore wind installation, thus reducing cost and environmental impact. In Phase II, the company will build and demonstrate a system capable of collecting all data required for real-time design of the turbine foundation.
- Fastwatt LLC, Clifton Park, NY ($1,565,249)—WETO, WPTO, and AMO joint-topic project to develop a novel integrated power converter/transformer for offshore wind systems. The proposed smaller and lighter technology is intended to improve power quality, in turn helping allow turbines to scale to larger sizes and reduce their cost of electricity.
- Alchemr, Boca Raton, FL ($1,150,000)—HFTO-funded project to develop a seawater-fed system that uses electricity to break water into hydrogen and oxygen. The system will couple to offshore wind turbines for green hydrogen production.
- Giner, Inc., Newton, MA ($1,100,000)—HFTO-funded project to design and demonstrate an on-turbine system to break water into hydrogen and oxygen using offshore wind. The proposed system can reduce greenhouse gas emissions for hydrogen production by up to 50% compared to the current practice of using natural gas.
Members of Congress lauded the wind-related awards for being investments in both local small businesses and the nation’s clean energy future.
“Clean energy leadership requires big investments in emerging technology,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI). “I’m thrilled to see this federal funding headed to an innovative Rhode Island company. This award will bolster the Ocean State’s leadership on offshore wind, and help us to develop an advanced and resilient energy grid primed for growth.”
“Massachusetts continues to be a leader in energy technology, and I am proud that so many of our small businesses were awarded research and development grants through the Department of Energy,” said Senator Edward J. Markey (MA). “From improvement in batteries to innovations in offshore wind, these grants will support the hard work of decarbonizing our energy systems and continue to rebuild our economy at the same time.”
“Now is the time to invest in sustainable energy, so that we can protect our environment and deliver affordable, clean power to Rhode Island homes and businesses for generations to come,” said Representative Jim Langevin (RI-02). “This federal funding will help prevent costly lightning damage to wind turbines, reducing downtime and enabling the Ocean State to continue leading the way on innovative wind energy solutions.”
“I’m so pleased to see the federal government issue $127 million in grants to support the advancement of clean energy alternatives. These grants will help 110 projects in 26 states advance American leadership in the world in clean energy,” said Representative Ted Deutch (FL-22). “I’m particularly proud that the Boca Raton-based company Alchemr was awarded over $1.1 million to explore hydrogen energy as a cleaner alternative that will help decarbonize our economy.”
The SBIR website provides details about past and current funding opportunities.