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Small Business Innovation Research: Bringing Clean Energy Technologies to the Marketplace

May 1, 2014 - 6:59pm

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Small businesses are key to America’s clean energy economy—rapidly and efficiently bringing cutting edge solutions and technologies to market. The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs support these companies through competitive funding critical to innovative research and to commercializing new ideas.

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has selected 40 small businesses for new SBIR awards that total nearly $6.3 million. The diverse mix of companies from 18 states will develop clean energy technologies with strong commercial potential.  Of these companies, 11 percent are from underrepresented states; 10 percent are socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses; and 8 percent are woman-owned small businesses.

Among today’s selections is a first-of-its-kind award under a new EERE SBIR technology-to-market topic that moves existing inventions developed at DOE’s national laboratories to the marketplace and accelerates the pace of commercialization. One selectee, Newton, Mass.-based Giner Inc., will use technology patented by Los Alamos National Laboratory along with the company’s well-established dimensionally-stabilized membrane technology and state-of-the-art catalyst materials to develop advanced, high-performance and durable polymer electrolyte membrane electrode assemblies for fuel cell and electrolysis applications. This work aims to increase the efficiency of hydrogen vehicles, reducing air pollution and carbon emissions.  Examples of other new SBIR-funded projects that solve R&D problems, create jobs, and contribute to the nation’s clean energy goals include:

  • Woman-owned Poly-Cel of Marlborough, Mass., which will develop a manufacturing process for customized, highly insulating building envelope components that will reduce the installed cost of energy upgrades for commercial buildings through offsite manufacturing.
  • Glosten Associates of Seattle, Wash., which will develop a highline gondola system for transporting workers and equipment to offshore wind platforms. 
  • SFP Works of Washington, Mich., which will demonstrate a technology for strong, lightweight, low-cost steel that improves fuel efficiency and avoids the retooling needed for other materials.
  • Materials Modification in Fairfax, Va., a socially and economically disadvantaged small business, that will develop lightweight structures containing hollow ceramic spheres (for strength) and foam (for flexibility) wrapped in super-light magnesium that could replace heavier metal structures to increase efficiency in vehicles.

For a full list of projects and more information about EERE’s SBIR and STTR programs, including how to apply, visit energy.gov/eere/sbir.  Also, sign up to receive free EERE SBIR applicant resources and program updates.

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