50 Grants Will Support Scientific Innovation and Clean Energy Development

Washington D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced awards totaling $61 million for small businesses in 17 states. The 50 projects funded by DOE’s Office of Science include the development of advanced scientific instruments, advanced materials, and clean energy conversion and storage technologies that will conduct climate research and advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of a net-zero emissions economy. 

“Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy and help drive innovation and opportunity,” said Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Director of DOE’s Office of Science. “The 50 projects selected to receive DOE small business grants will bring us one step closer to developing the scientific solutions we need to achieve our climate goals, while also providing good paying jobs and economic benefits to communities across the nation.”

American small businesses have a critical role in facilitating the transition from discovery to innovation, helping create a bridge between the scientific laboratory and the commercial marketplace. DOE Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards strive to transform DOE-supported science and technology breakthroughs into viable products and services. 

Today’s Phase II research and development selections are funded through DOE’s SBIR/STTR program. Small businesses that demonstrated technical feasibility for innovations during their Phase I grants competed for funding for prototype or processes development during Phase II. In addition, prior Phase II awardees competed for second or third Phase II awards to continue prototype and process development. The median Phase II award is $1,100,000 for a period of two years.

Projects selected for award include: 

Osazda Energy (Albuquerque, NM) – An Optimization-Based Design Ecosystem Targeting Performance, Reliability, and Stability of Photovoltaic Modules in Solar Energy Market. Osazda Energy will develop a user-friendly, advanced software platform that enables digital design optimization of photovoltaic systems, demonstrating its first utility by designing metal contacts on solar cells that would increase cell efficiency and improve module reliability against environmental stressors. Minimizing damage to solar panels during extreme weather events with minimal interruption in power generation would benefit the public as well as the utility-scale solar farm owners.   

ColdQuanta, Inc. (Boulder, CO) – Increased Reliability for Near-Term Quantum Computers via Low-Level Control. This project develops advanced software for quantum computers, enhancing their efficiency and unlocking potential breakthroughs in various scientific and industrial applications. This work positions the United States at the forefront of quantum technological advancement.   

Amethyst Research, Inc. (Norman, OK) – Extended SWIR Single Photon Avalanche Photo Detector Technology for Bioimaging. Amethyst Research is developing an ultra-high performance infrared detector for quantum imaging and sensing. The program addresses a critical ‘technology gap’ that currently exists to improve and advance infrared imaging capabilities necessary for research into bioimaging and biosensing.   

Metrolaser, Inc. (Laguna Hills, CA) - A New Digital Holographic Microscope for the Study of Biological Systems. Digital holographic microscopy is a unique technique capable of fast, 3D, and functional imaging of the dynamic and multiscale processes involving micro-particles (e.g., bacteria). Based on this technique, the project team will develop and refine a hierarchy of commercial systems with versatile features and functionalities to provide biologists powerful tools for their research that can lead to improved plant health and crop productivity.

Robot Nose Corporation (Lemont, IL) – Rapid and Cost-Effective Manufacturing of Polymer-Based Refractive X-ray Optics.This project continues the collaborative effort between Argonne National Laboratory and Robot Nose Corporate to commercialize the groundbreaking technology of employing two-photon and one-photon polymerization lithography for the cost-effective manufacturing of high-resolution and defect-free refractive X-ray optics.

Amsen Technologies LLC (Tucson, AZ)– Novel Reinforced Anion Exchange Membranes for Solar-to-Hydrogen Generators. The development of solar fuels generators that convert water and carbon dioxide to storable chemical fuels using sunlight would be substantially beneficial for energy production and storage. This SBIR project will develop a new ion exchange membrane that is a key component for solar fuels generators.

Innosys, Inc. (Salt Lake City, UT) – High Average Current and High Voltage Reliable and Stable Power Supplies for High Current Electron Beam Sources. Innosys will research, develop, and ultimately manufacture extremely high voltage power supplies and related products in the United States that significantly further scientific and industrial activities. These new, novel products will help strengthen the U.S. economy and support the creation of jobs.

CapeSym, Inc. (Natick, MA) – High Spatial Resolution Detectors for Nuclear Physics Applications. Nuclear Physics research provides fundamental blocks for the development of scientific understandings of nature that present themselves in a myriad of engineered products and medical services that benefit the public. Many of today's most important advances in medicine, materials, energy, security, power, climatology, and dozens of other sciences are derived from fundamental research and development in nuclear physics. The detectors developed under this program will benefit all these areas collectively by improving the performance of nuclear experiments. Additionally, these low-cost detectors will also be revolutionary for applications in medical imaging, industrial imaging, and homeland security applications. 

Visit the SBIR and STTR home page to learn more about DOE’s SBIR and STTR programs. Additional information about the projects announced today is available on the SBIR and STTR awards page.