Monday, September 28, 2015

DOE offers help to small businesses developing clean energy products

Small businesses developing clean energy technologies are now able to compete for funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.

DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is offering $20 million in vouchers to help clean-energy entrepreneurs and small businesses get their products to market.

Idaho National Laboratory has partnered with Ames and Oak Ridge national laboratories to assist with outreach, merit reviews and selection of proposals. The INL-Ames-Oak Ridge team was recently selected as one of five pilot teams implementing the Small Business Voucher Pilot Program, which is part of EERE's Lab Impact Initiative. The team has jointly received the largest of the five awards, which together total $20 million.

The vouchers are intended to help U.S.-based and U.S.-owned small businesses that are developing clean-energy technologies in advanced manufacturing, buildings, vehicles, wind, water, bio-energy, fuel cells, geothermal and solar.

EERE released the first call for small business requests for assistance today. More information – including how to submit applications online – is at www.sbv.org.

Vouchers of $50,000 to $300,000 per small business will be awarded to initiate collaborative research projects, provide technical assistance and facilitate third-party validation. INL can provide unique materials, prototyping, technology testing and validation, engineering designs, and scale-up of samples. The selected businesses must provide 20 percent matching funds or in-kind services.

Three cycles of competitions will be offered to small businesses through 2016, and DOE estimates more than 100 businesses will receive funds.

Other labs participating in the pilot program are National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.