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US Energy: DOE Announces $53 Million for Small Businesses Pursuing Clean Energy and Climate Solutions

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $53 million in funding awards for diverse small businesses to pursue advanced scientific instrumentation and technologies to address climate change. The funding will support 259 projects across 38 states that cover security and resilience, renewable energy, energy storage, carbon capture and conversion, and fusion energy, including projects that invest in disadvantaged communities to promote equitable research, development, and deployment of solutions. Developing new clean energy solutions is a key component of achieving President Biden’s goal of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.

“Tackling the climate crisis and securing America’s economic competitiveness will require the full scope of American enterprise, especially the small businesses that are propelling clean energy advances,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M Granholm. “These projects will not only unlock a range of equitable climate solutions, but also create good-paying jobs, lower costs, and forge a better future for underprivileged American families and communities.”

This funding is administered by DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs to fund technological innovation, encourage participation of diverse communities, and facilitate technology transfer between research institutions and small businesses. The SBIR and STTR programs fund a diverse portfolio of small businesses, including startups, across technology areas and markets relevant to DOE’s missions to stimulate technological breakthroughs, meet federal research and development (R&D) needs, and increase commercialization by transitioning R&D into deployment. DOE awardees have reported over $1.7 billion in sales resulting from SBIR/STTR awards.

Selected projects include:

Charles River Analytics, Inc. (Cambridge, MA) — Current cybersecurity solutions for operational technology systems do not provide the information necessary for a human operator to quickly respond to ongoing attacks. This proposal will find a solution that detects attacks, provides descriptive information of the attacks to easily remediate them, and makes suggestions for remediations. These capabilities mean that when an attack on a power grid, or other critical infrastructure, occurs it can be fixed more rapidly.

Bioenno Tech, LLC, (Santa Ana, CA) — The successful development of the proposed all-solid-state lithium-ion batteries for electric drive vehicles will significantly improve energy efficiency, reduce GHG emissions, and improve the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing in the global market. This project will demonstrate the readiness of low-cost solid-state batteries for high-volume manufacturing, which is an essential step to achieving these goals/benefits.

Z&STech, LLC, (Denton, TX) — Vehicle design is driving significant strides in accelerating decarbonization in the United States. To obtain a vehicle with low energy consumption, a bio-based composite material will be designed and synthesized using little energy to manufacture. This material reduces the weight of the vehicle structure and is bio-degradable at end of life.

River Connectivity Systems, (Bainbridge Island, WA) — Environmental factors, especially fish passage, are crucial considerations for hydropower development. This project will lower costs by keeping fish and debris out of the water conveyance systems and help improve the quality of water downstream of dams. This project will help to prove critical fish passage and other benefits that will help to make our hydroelectric projects safer for wildlife and provide products and services we can export to the rest of the world.

Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (Lancaster, PA) — A CO2 direct air capture system that operates on low-voltage electricity and low-temperature heat is being developed to provide more efficient and economical capture of CO2 from the atmosphere. This system promises ease of deployment with minimal maintenance and operating costs and can be used in industrial and non-industrial settings.

Cornerstone Research Group, Inc. (Miamisburg, OH) — The modern electric power grid is facing increasing stress due to a fundamental shift in supply and demand technologies. One such technology that can overcome these challenges, at the risk of decreased system reliability is the solid-state transformer (SST). This proposal will provide predictive health monitoring to enable maintenance strategies that reduce unplanned outages, enable maintenance scheduling, and avoid premature system replacement.
“If we’re serious about tackling the existential threat of climate change, we need to get smart about investing in creative solutions. Connecticut small businesses are leading the way, and I’m glad to see the Department of Energy supporting these three companies and their innovative work to make a clean energy future our reality,” said U.S. Senator Chris Murphy.

“Hawaii has long been a leader in the transition to clean energy, and this funding will help build on that leadership. These grants will enable small businesses and entrepreneurs to innovate ways to produce affordable energy from renewable sources. As we work to protect our environment, I’ll continue to support community-based programs like this that provide entrepreneurs the resources they need to develop sustainable solutions to our climate crisis,” said U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono.

“Climate change poses a threat not only to our environment – but also our economy, Great Lakes, and way of life as Michiganders. It’s absolutely critical that we support businesses in Michigan and across the country as they work to develop the cutting-edge, clean technologies of the future,” said U.S. Senator Gary Peters. “This funding will help small businesses across Michigan spearhead technological innovation to combat climate change – and in a way that best supports their workers and communities.”

“Small businesses drive our economy forward while serving as critical hubs for innovation and research. It’s critical these businesses have the support needed to pursue and develop technologies that address 21st-Century challenges,” said U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján. “That’s why I’m glad this Department of Energy funding will invest in New Mexico small businesses to help discover technological breakthroughs to combat the climate crisis in New Mexico and across the country.”

“Glad to see the Department of Energy is investing in Georgia’s small businesses and economic future,” said U.S. Senator Reverend Warnock. “These grants will help ensure Georgia stays on the cutting edge of clean energy innovation, and help cement our state’s foothold as an incubator for sustainable technology companies. I’m going to keep working in Washington to secure federal investments for our state that will create good-paying jobs, lower costs, and boost Georgia’s technology and innovation capacity.”

“As Chair of the Small Business Committee, I’m proud to see diverse small businesses across the state take the initiative and be rewarded for pursuing equitable clean energy and climate solutions,” said U.S. Representative Nydia Velázquez, Chair of House Small Business Committee (NY-07). “With this funding, these businesses, including NanoSpray, LLC which is located in my district, can continue their work to combat climate change and will hopefully inspire more to follow their lead.”

“Applied Nanotech is a leader in developing materials for printable electronics and coatings, making strong progress in our shared goal of a carbon-neutral, energy-efficient future,” said U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett (TX-35). “These grants will provide important funding for research and innovation in these technologies, to be used in monitoring reactors and improving microelectronic packaging.”

“I’ve been a strong supporter of DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs throughout my service in Congress,” said U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-18). “These programs play a critical role in our nation’s development and commercialization of important new technologies. I’m pleased that a number of firms in Pittsburgh are receiving awards today to support their cutting-edge work to develop and deploy new technologies that will help the world curb climate change.”

“The funding to be awarded to three small businesses in my Hawai‘i is a testament to the capability and expertise of companies in the islands whose innovative approaches to clean energy technologies can help our country to wean itself away from our dependence on non-renewable energy resources,” said U.S. Representative Ed Case (HI-01). “This comes at a time when Hawai‘i is being especially hard hit by rising gas prices due in large part to our relative isolation in the middle of the Pacific which makes it difficult to acquire fuel for our energy needs.”

“I am delighted to see Forest Concepts and other small businesses in Washington state recognized by DOE! Responding to climate change will require a multitude of creative solutions from both public and private sectors,” said U.S. Representative Kim Schrier (WA-08). “In my heavily forested district, wood product and biomass technologies can reduce emissions, prevent forest fires, and bring down costs for consumers. I commend DOE on investing in such worthy recipients as Forest Concepts!”

“Small businesses across the Commonwealth are stepping up in the fight against the climate crisis. Whether it’s converting carbon dioxide into plastics in Chelmsford or carbon capture technology in Andover, companies here in the Third District are leading the way,” said U.S. Representative Lori Trahan (MA-03). “I look forward to seeing the ways these small businesses put their grants to use bolstering their efforts to address climate change.”

“Climate change is not a theoretical threat — it’s an immediate one,” said U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood (IL-14). “It’s imperative that we invest resources to not only tackle this threat, but also build a brighter, cleaner energy future. Through these DOE grants, we are investing in small businesses throughout northern Illinois to enable them to become leaders in fighting climate change through technological innovation, all while creating good-paying jobs in the 14th and throughout the country.”

“Our local communities are home to pioneering small businesses that, with robust federal support, will play a major role in developing the clean energy technologies of the future,” said U.S. Representative Paul D. Tonko (NY-20). “I’ve long fought to deliver funding that will facilitate that clean energy transition, create good jobs and supercharge our economy, and I’m thrilled to see those funds being delivered to worthy businesses in New York’s Capital Region and across the nation. I congratulate our local businesses whose worthy projects are being funded, and thank them for their dedication driving innovation and building a cleaner, more resilient economy.”

“I am pleased that a diverse group of small businesses in North Carolina’s Fourth Congressional District will be awarded Department of Energy funding to support their pursuit of advanced scientific instrumentation and technologies to address climate change,” said U.S. Representative David Price (NC-04), a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. “Small businesses are the backbone of our communities, and it is imperative that Congress continues to support research and development funding that will produce the technology needed to combat climate change.”

“I’m proud to represent many local businesses advancing innovative clean energy technology that will help us combat the climate crisis,” said U.S. Representative Mike Levin (CA-49). “The small businesses receiving funding from the Department of Energy today are doing the kind of cutting edge work we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect our planet for future generations. I look forward to seeing how they make the most of these important federal investments.”

“The awards by the Department of Energy to small businesses in Virginia’s Ninth District highlight the groundbreaking research being done in our region,” said U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (VA-9). “Southwest Virginia is leading the way toward new technologies that will meet the energy needs of the future.”

“This is great news for small businesses in Illinois and across the country that are pursuing important research and development into advanced scientific technologies to address climate change,” said U.S. Representative Bill Foster (IL-11). “As someone who launched and grew a successful high-tech manufacturing business, I know how critical American small businesses and startups can be in helping us identify efficient and practical solutions to combat climate change. This funding will be put to good use and allow entrepreneurs to innovate, push boundaries, and discover meaningful solutions.”

“I am delighted to hear that the Fourth District’s own Greenpath Systems will receive a substantial grant from the Department of Energy that will significantly aid in its effort to reduce harmful emissions and pursue renewable energy avenues that support Oklahoma’s all-of-the-above energy approach,” said U.S. Representative Tom Cole (OK-4). “Indeed, this will undoubtedly benefit the community for years to come.”

“I’ve been a strong supporter of DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs throughout my service in Congress,” said U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-18). “These programs play a critical role in our nation’s development and commercialization of important new technologies. I’m pleased that a number of firms in Pittsburgh are receiving awards today to support their cutting-edge work to develop and deploy new technologies that will help the world curb climate change.”

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