American small businesses got nearly a $22 million boost from the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Small businesses are receiving Phase I Release 2 grants that demonstrate technical feasibility for innovations during the first phase of their research. Most Phase I awards are for $200,000 for less than one year.
Nine EERE technology offices will fund 109 awards under 12 topics – one for each office (Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), Bioenergy Technologies Office, Building Technologies Office, Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO), Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO), Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), Vehicle Technologies Office, Water Power Technologies Office and the Wind Energy Technologies Office), as well as three joint office topics (AMO with FCTO, AMO with GTO, and AMO with SETO). Highlights of the award selections include:
- Secmation of Raleigh, North Carolina, will develop an intuitive interface that supports both traditional wired and new wireless technologies to enhance the cybersecurity of manufacturing equipment.
- SusMer, Inc. of Fort Collins, Colorado, will develop next-generation bio-based packaging materials that avoid severe plastic pollution and enormous materials’ energy and value loss because they are designed for a circular plastics economy where all outputs can become inputs to other products.
- Glint Photonics, Inc. of Burlingame, California, will create nanoscale structures that mimic antireflective moth eyes to increase lighting fixture efficiency and reduce glare by up to 12 percent.
- GreenBlu, Inc. of Hamilton, New Jersey, is researching technologies based at geothermal sites to meet the global need for desalinated water using low cost thermal energy, while eliminating toxic brine discharge, and also recovering valuable minerals.
- FarmAfield Labs of Lincoln, Nebraska, will research integration of solar photovoltaic systems with livestock production.
- Nanosonic of Pembroke, Virginia, and Pennsylvania State University of State College, Pennsylvania, will research material composition of ground-breaking perovskite solar cells to reduce the cost of manufacturing them.
- TexPower of Austin, Texas, will research Lithium-Ion technologies that extend battery life while reducing use of costly imported materials for vehicle applications.
- Carbon Rivers LLC of Knoxville, Tennessee, will research an innovative, energy-saving process to repurpose waste from end-of-life wind turbine blades.
- Ocean Renewable Power Company, of Portland, Maine, will research a community-scale tidal power/ energy storage system using data from False Pass, AK to develop a microgrid system including both battery and pumped hydropower storage.
- NuMat Technologies (NuMat) of Skokie, Illinois, will determine if innovative, high-efficiency filters can be used to remove impurities from hydrogen gas streams.
Small businesses play a major role in spurring innovation and creating jobs in the U.S. economy. The SBIR and STTR programs were created by Congress 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 as well.