U.S. Department of Energy Announces Nearly $53.4 Million in Small Business Research & Development

Originally published on ENERGY.GOV

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will fund 49 new Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) research and development projects across 23 states, totaling nearly $53.4 million in funding.

Small businesses receive Phase II Release 2 grants for principal research and development efforts based on the technical feasibility demonstrated in Phase I projects. Phase II awards range up to $1,500,000 for two years.

Nine EERE Technology Offices (Advanced Manufacturing, Bioenergy, Buildings, Fuel Cells, Geothermal, Solar, Vehicles, Water, and Wind) will fund these awards. The following are examples of EERE-funded Phase II projects:

  • Quantum Ventura, Inc. of San Jose, CA, is building a 7kg/day E-RECOV prototype plant to extract precious metals and rare earths from waste electronics, such as cell phones and hard disks. E-RECOV technology reduces chemical reagent use and lessens the toxicity of remaining materials. E-RECOV is 30% cheaper than conventional recovery technologies and extracts valuable precious metals. Salvaging these critical rare-earth metals, which have a limited supply within the U.S., reduces the chance of supply-chain disruptions.
  • Algenesis Materials of Cardiff, CA, is developing biodegradable polymers made from algae. They will produce products that meet commercial specifications and are able to degrade at a controlled rate in a variety of environments, reducing the bioaccumulation of waste.
  • Vacuum glass, a flat thermos bottle for windows, can reduce total U.S. energy use by 1% by 2030, but is far too expensive for the market. V-Glass, LLC of Pewaukee, WI, is working on a project that will eliminate this cost premium, securing the U.S. a leading position in a global market totaling more than $40 billion per year.
  • Geothermal heat pump systems represent a significant energy savings opportunity for the United States, but their high installation cost is preventing widespread implementation. Melink Corporation of Milford, OH, is researching how materials with high thermal storage capacities, known as “phase-change materials,” can be used to reduce their installation cost.
  • TDA Research, Inc. of Wheat Ridge, CO, is developing advanced tools for monitoring high-tech hydrogen fuel cell components, such as carbon-fiber-reinforced pressure vessels that store the hydrogen fuel, to support widespread commercial adoption of these technologies.
  • Tectonicus Constructs, LLC of Bisbee, AZ, is developing a solar racking system to cover and power irrigation canals, giving landowners secondary revenue, reducing evaporation and irrigation costs, and providing new energy jobs to agricultural communities.
  • TexPower of Austin, TX, aims to commercialize the first cobalt-free, high-energy lithium-ion battery cathodes that replace current cathodes without changes to other components. TexPower’s battery cathodes use only abundant metals, manufactured by standard industrial processes.
  • Current floating offshore wind anchoring and mooring solutions are expensive and not economical at quantity for a wind farm. Triton Systems, Inc. of Chelmsford, MA, is developing a new anchoring technology that will reduce the fabrication and installation costs of offshore wind farms and provide permitting benefits over current market solutions.
  • Pliant Energy Systems, LLC of Brooklyn, NY, is developing a pump that draws both water and energy from a flowing water source for irrigation. This technology would be used for both desalination and the generation of electricity.

Small businesses play a major role in spurring innovation and creating jobs in the U.S. economy. Congress created the SBIR and STTR programs to leverage small businesses to advance innovation at federal agencies. Information on the DOE SBIR and STTR programs is available on the Office of Science SBIR website. Additional information can be found on the EERE SBIR/STTR website.

Featured Image: Solar Panel and Sky, Solar Power Plant, by Cynthia Shahan, CleanTechnica.

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