DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) recently announced Small Business Innovation Research Phase I awards totaling $22 million for 110 American small businesses and entrepreneurs developing clean energy technologies. The announcement is part of DOE-wide awards totaling $54 million funded by DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer program, which helps American small businesses and entrepreneurs test and prototype clean energy breakthroughs with the potential toward commercialization. EERE selected four wind-energy-related SBIR Phase I awards at ~$200K each under two topic areas.

Topic Area A: Technical Solutions to Offshore and Land-Based Wind Siting and Environmental Challenges:

  • Carbon Solutions, LLC of Bloomington, IN will develop a software package called SimWIND, short for Software to Support Wind Siting and Environmental Challenges. When completed, SimWIND will be a tool for a broad audience, from independent service operators (ISOs) and regional transmission organizations (RTOs) to wind energy developers, state governments, communities, and the public. SimWIND will provide a range of user-specific options, including providing a better understanding of how to best integrate wind energy into ISO/RTO systems and the grid. SimWIND will provide valuable feedback for ISOs and RTOs about wind energy projects through various planning stages.
  • Wildlife Imaging Systems LLC of Hinesburg, VT will develop a camera- and radar-based system that monitors and detects wildlife activity near wind turbines. The system could help wind project operators automatically inform or trigger mitigation options, such as shutting down turbines or using a signal to warn wildlife. The system could also help improve the accuracy of fatality monitoring. Together, these capabilities will help improve and validate wildlife impact mitigation options.

Topic Area B: Distributed Wind Technology-Compatible Power Converters for Grid-Connected and Isolated Distributed Energy Systems:

  • WBGlobalSemi, Inc. of La Honda, CA will develop a 480-volt, 3-phase scalable power inverter to convert the DC power generated by distributed wind turbines into AC power that flows to the grid and can be used to power homes, businesses, or industrial facilities. By using a digital twin of their 240-volt, single-phase inverter, WBGlobalSemi will assess and prioritize opportunities to reduce costs and improve performance. If successful, the project will result in a new low-cost, highly efficient inverter for delivering grid-compatible distributed wind power.
  • Intergrid, LLC of Temple, NH will develop a next-generation power inverter for small-scale distributed wind applications of 5 kilowatts (kW)–500 kW, filling a current gap for smaller certified inverters for distributed wind turbines.

The SBIR website provides details about past and current funding opportunities.