Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced 25 selected projects for the spring round of the 2024 Energy I-Corps program, alongside the release of the 2023 Energy I-Corps Annual Report.
OTT, DOE program offices, and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) contributed over $1.7M in total funding to the selected Energy I-Corps projects, across all three topics.
"DOE is home to many of the best researchers in the world, and the Energy I-Corps program will give them the skills and experiences to become the best entrepreneurs in the world,” said DOE Chief Commercialization Officer and Director of the Office of Technology Transitions, Dr. Vanessa Z. Chan. “Now, in its ninth year, EIC has proven time and time again that it is transformational for the teams that participate."
Since the program’s inception in 2015, Energy I-Corps teams have collectively attracted more than $177 million in post-program funding, launched more than 20 new businesses based on their technologies, executed 78 licenses, worked with more than 200 industry mentors, and conducted nearly 15,500 stakeholder discovery interviews. In FY2023, Energy I-Corps debuted its follow-on funding track to further support Energy I-Corps graduates in commercializing their technology. Delve into all of Energy I-Corps teams’ accomplishments over years and discover where the program aims to go in the Energy I-Corps 2023 Annual Report.
In this three-topic program, Topic 1 invites DOE National Laboratories and DOE plants and sites to propose programming that encourages their researchers to participate in future EIC training cohorts (Topic 2). Five Topic 1 projects were selected during the FY24 Spring Lab Call. The selected projects cumulatively aim to provide over 150 hours of entrepreneurial training to more than 65 researchers from seven National Laboratories. The projects target more than 400 customer discovery interviews and aim to create at least 20 new applications for future Energy I-Corps cohorts. Though each project scope is different, OTT was excited to see projects that included multi-lab collaboration, Energy I-Corps alumni involvement, partnerships with universities and other local ecosystem stakeholders, and engagement with laboratory Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to increase program awareness and applicant diversity.
Topic 2 offers a 10–12-week intensive program for DOE National Lab and DOE plant and site researchers to define technology value propositions, conduct 75 stakeholder discovery interviews, and explore viable market pathways for their technologies. 14 teams have been selected to participate in this year’s Cohort 18, with funding from 11 DOE program offices and the National Nuclear Security Administration. Three teams participating in DOE’s West Gate Lab Embedded Entrepreneurship Program (LEEP) at NREL will also participate in Cohort 18. Additional information about each Cohort 18 team is available here.
Topic 3 supports graduates of the 10-12 week training program that demonstrated a high likelihood of commercializing their technology. This topic by provides these teams with funding to cover the costs of the next actionable step in their technology commercialization pathway, such as prototype validation and pilot deployment. The selected Topic 3 projects received $100,000 each. This includes funding from the Vehicle Technologies Office, which is co-funding the commercialization of the RouteE-Beat project with OTT.
- Cost-Competitive Manufacturing of the OleoSponge, Argonne National Laboratory (ANL): ANL’s OleoSponge is a technology for recovering oil and petroleum products from water that surpasses similar technologies currently on the market. OleoSponge aims to dramatically combat both catastrophic oil spills and chronic problems with contamination in harbors and ports around the world. This project seeks to accelerate the commercialization of this technology through ecosystem engagement, prototype development in collaboration with an industrial manufacturing partner, and demonstrations in real-world environments using conditions specified by industry stakeholders.
- Electro3D - Sandia National Laboratory (SNL): SNL’s Electro3D is an additive manufacturing technology that has the potential to produce custom, high-fidelity electronics both in small quantities and cost-effectively with greener production methods. To address requests from interested licensees, this project will enable Electro3D to advance its existing prototype and demonstrate its ability to produce printed circuit boards to industry standards.
- Pilot Deployment of the RouteE Bus Energy Analysis Tool (RouteE-BEAT), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL): NREL’s RouteE-BEAT is a dashboard that shows the estimated energy consumption and basic charging demands required if a specific driving route were served by a battery electric bus. This project will refine the existing RouteE-BEAT dashboard with industry feedback, complete pilot demonstrations of the refined dashboard with public transit agencies that have an interest in electrifying portions of their bus fleets, and develop a plan for full-scale deployment. The project will spur increased awareness and utilization of RouteE-BEAT for preliminary planning of bus electrification at public transit agencies, ultimately supporting both green transportation and a critical mode of transportation often serving the most vulnerable populations.
Learn more about the program and selected projects by visiting the Energy I-Corps webpage. Read the 2023 Energy I-Corps Annual Report here.
About the Department of Energy Office of Technology Transitions
The Department of Energy Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) is one of the largest supporters of technology commercialization in the federal government. Founded in 2015, OTT bolsters the technology industry's market skills and enables clean energy technologies to progress through research, development, demonstration, and to deployment into the private sector to meet our nation’s climate goals. Visit us at energy.gov/ott to learn more, and subscribe to receive our latest opportunities and accomplishments via email. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.