The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that will support 110 innovative projects – each focused on tackling the climate crisis by harnessing market-oriented solutions and emerging technologies – with awards totaling US$127 million to American small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Of the US$127 million total, the DOE’s Office of Energy and Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will award US$57 million to 53 projects by 51 American small businesses and entrepreneurs with phase II funding based on the initial success of their phase I awards, including follow-on awards to support projects closer to market.
Entrepreneurs from 20 states will advance bold ideas spanning a wide spectrum of technology breakthroughs, from harnessing energy and energy storage solutions to strengthening cybersecurity for solar networks.
Through DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, the phase II awards support the research and development of innovative clean energy technologies toward commercialization. EERE phase II awards are awarded for a two-year project duration, with initial funding up to US$1.1 million, and two potential follow-on awards of up to US$1.1 million each.
According to the DOE, this effort also reflects the Biden Administration’s commitment to ensuring that the clean energy revolution does not leave behind historically marginalized communities of color.
Of the 51 companies, more than 25 percent identified as either woman-owned, socially and economically disadvantaged, or in a HUBZone, focusing on the growth of historically underutilized business zones.
We are honored to support this diverse body of pioneering entrepreneurs committed to scaling clean energy technologies and creating good-paying American jobs. Because of their example of ingenuity and creativity, I’m confident that we have the capacity to tackle the climate crisis by deploying a wide range of innovative solutions right here at home, said Kelly Speakes-Backman, Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
Six of the projects will be funded through the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO). These are:
Near-Infrared Biomass Probe and Deployment Methods for Real-time, Field-based, Biomass Quality Measurement – ANTARES Group Inc., Edgewater, Maryland (MD). This project will help further develop a novel way to identify and measure the quality of biomass. This new probe will provide a more rapid assessment of biomass quality than traditional testing, thereby guiding real-time decisions on the need for additional quality improvements to produce conversion-ready feedstocks.
Conversion of Biogas to Liquid Fuels on Superior Catalysts – NexTech Materials, Ltd. Dba Nexceris, LLC, Lewis Center, Ohio (OH). New carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction processes are required to efficiently convert biogas, biomass, and stored CO2 to usable fuels. The Nexceris/WSU/Tonkomo team is developing a system to convert biomethane and CO2 into renewable diesel, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), and Fischer-Tropsch wax a valuable feedstock for chemicals, lubricants, and fuels production.
Removing Ammonia Contamination from Biogas Feedstock – Pancopia, Inc., Hampton, Virginia (VA). Ammonia emissions from swine farms decrease swine productivity, harm the health of surrounding communities, significantly increase pollution, and threaten the production of biogas. This project will develop low-cost, reliable treatment technology to eliminate 90 percent of ammonia emissions from farms thus resolving these pressing issues which are preventing the implementation of biogas projects.
Biorecovery of Nutrients from Municipal Wastewaters with Co-production of Biofuels and other Bioproducts – MicroBio Engineering, San Luis Obispo, California (CA). Development of technology is needed to remove phosphorus from wastewater at low-cost to very low levels to fight environmental pollution triggering harmful algal blooms. This project will reduce phosphorus contents to essentially zero levels by applying conditioned filamentous algae in controlled systems allowing removal in secondary or tertiary wastewater within hours.
Advancing Optical Imaging and Classification to Enhance Biodiversity Monitoring – OceanSpace, LLC in St. Petersburg, Florida (FL). Biofuel production requires cost reduction coupled with enhanced benefits, and an important potential benefit is a reduction in impacts to biodiversity. Evaluating biodiversity impacts requires a modern sampling technology that is practical and cost-effective, an excellent solution being a sensor system that is easy to use, cost-efficient, and enhances decision-making capabilities.
Upcycling Ocean-based Plastics for Sustainable Feedstock Supply Chain – RiKarbon, Inc., Newark, Delaware (DE). RiKarbon, Inc. is commercializing an enabling technology to produce low-cost waste plastic feedstock and waste plastic’s selective depolymerization to plastic’s building block chemicals for manufacturing renewable plastics. This project will mitigate health risks to ocean life and humans, improve the environmental eco-system, promote future energy security and develop a circular economy.