Newswise — WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $72 million in funding for small businesses to pursue scientific, clean energy, and climate research, development, and demonstration projects. The funding will support 296 projects across 44 states and addresses multiple topic areas, such as renewable energy, nuclear energy, cybersecurity, advanced materials and manufacturing, microelectronics, and artificial intelligence. Today’s announcement underscores the Biden-Harris Administration’s deep commitment to advancing innovative climate solutions and strengthening America’s global scientific leadership, which are critical to achieving the President’s goal of a carbon-free grid by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050.
“America’s small businesses have always played a critical role in moving our nation forward, and this entrepreneurial spirit helped established America as a global leader in science and innovation,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “President Biden understands this, which is why DOE is providing companies coast to coast with resources to develop game changing solutions to tackle the climate crisis and build a clean energy future.”
America’s small businesses play a critical role in facilitating the transition from discovery to innovation, helping create a bridge between the scientific laboratory and the commercial marketplace. DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards aim to transform science and technology breakthroughs into viable products and services that can be utilized by the American people and across all sectors of the nation’s economy.
Funded through the DOE’s SBIR and STTR programs, today’s selections are primarily for Phase I research and development that focuses on establishing technical feasibility for proposed innovations. Phase I awardees will compete for larger Phase II awards to fund prototype or process development. Additionally, a limited number of Fast-Tracks (combined Phase I and Phase II awards) have also been awarded. The median Phase I award is $200,000 for a period of six to twelve months.
Selected projects — which are focused on dozens of research areas — include:
- Gulf Wind Technology (Avondale, LA) — Increasing the deployment of wind technologies is critical to achieving the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035. This proposal will investigate on-blade load management techniques to reduce costs for larger wind turbine, which are subject to increasingly dynamic operating conditions.
- ecoLong LLC (Slingerlands, NY) —Advancing new clean energy technologies for use in communities across the country is critical to building an equitable and inclusive clean energy future. This proposal will explore a scalable, replicable, and sustainable decarbonization program that ensures energy equity outcomes are met and benefits are maximized and distributed fairly.
- Faraday Technology, Inc. (Englewood, OH) — Fuel cells and electrolyzers are critical to reaching President Biden’s ambitious climate and decarbonization goals. This proposal aims to develop an efficient and environmentally-friendly method for recycling the platinum group metals in fuel cells and electrolyzers and improve domestic supply chain for these valuable elements.
- EC Power Group, Inc. (State College, PA) — Electrification of the nation’s transportation sector is essential to long-term emission reduction targets; however, current batteries charge too slowly for mass adoption. This proposal seeks to develop value-add battery technology applicable to current batteries and enabling for future lithium-ion batteries so that they can be reliably fast-charged.
- EvolOH, Inc. (Palo Alto, CA) — Clean hydrogen, which can be produced by splittng water using renewable electricity, is vital to reducing emissions from some of the most energy-intensive sectors of our economy. This proposal aims to drastically reduce the water purity requirements for this process so that normal tap water can be used, leading to simpler and cheaper clean hydrogen production.
- UBERSPARK INC. (Aledo, TX) — Distributed energy resources, such as rooftop solar panels, are rapidly growing across the nation as a result of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. The dramatic increase in these points of exposure combined with cybersecurity risks pose a growing threat to the electrical grid from cyberattack and other disruptions. This project aims to develop a network monitoring system that will be immune to entire classes of cyberattacks, and is superior to existing approaches to encryption, authentication, and firewalls.
- Wyonics LLC. (Laramie, WY) — Rare earth elements are critical components in a variety of modern technologies, but existing processes for their extraction and separation are not economically or environmentally feasible for execution in the U.S., contributing to a reliance on foreign sources. Work carried out in this proposal will help develop new technologies capable of extracting, separating, and recovering rare earth elements from domestic feedstocks of uranium and thorium bearing minerals.
- Physical Sciences Inc. (Torrance, MA) — Nuclear energy is a reliable energy resource that can deliver consistent energy regardless of weather or geological location. This proposal aims to improve process monitoring of nuclear waste streams to support the successful management and remediation of nuclear waste to support wider adoption of nuclear energy in communities across the nation.
- Pitch Aeronautics (Bosie, ID) — Utilities can dramatically increase electrical transmission line capacity by varying maximum permissible current with weather conditions. This proposal aims to develop and demonstrate a drone deployable inexpensive sensor to monitor environmental conditions along a transmission line and enable dynamic line rating operations. This could increase renewable energy integration into the power grid and avoid substantial power generation curtailment costs.
- Tetramer Technologies (Pendleton, SC) — Vast utilization of nuclear energy as a low-emissions energy resource requires the reprocessing of used nuclear fuel to recover fissile materials; however, this process is accompanied by emissions of harmful radioactive isotopes. This proposal seeks to develop a separation process capturing isotopes, which will greatly enhance the feasibility of closed nuclear fuel cycles and contribute to substantial reduction in carbon emissions nationwide.
The selected projects will be funded through the following DOE offices:
- Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response
- Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation
- Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
- Environmental Management
- Fossil Energy and Carbon Management
- Nuclear Energy and Science
For a full list of projects, click here.
Selection for award negotiations is not a commitment by DOE to issue an award or provide funding. Before funding is issued, DOE and the applicants will undergo a negotiation process, and DOE may cancel negotiations and rescind the selection for any reason during that time.
For more information about DOE’s SBIR and STTR programs can be found here.
More information about the projects announced today can be found here.