Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Small businesses in clean energy invited to collaborate with national labs

Small businesses in the clean-energy sector have another opportunity to apply for technical help from U.S. Department of Energy labs through the Small Business Vouchers Pilot.

Johanna Wolfson, Technology-to-Market director in the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, launched the pilot’s third round on Oct. 10 at South By Southwest Eco in Austin, Texas. The pilot, part of EERE’s Lab Impact portfolio, aims to help small businesses bring next-generation clean-energy technologies to market faster by giving them access to expertise and tools at national labs.

The SBV Pilot opened its first funding round in fall 2015 and launched its second last spring. Since then, nearly 800 applications have been reviewed, and 76 small businesses from 25 states have been awarded a total of $14.7 million in vouchers.

EERE recently announced a Small Business Voucher to help Idaho National Laboratory continue work on an electrochemical process to recover gold, silver, palladium and other metals from discarded cell phones and other electronic devices. The lab has received money to work with e-Materials Recovery, a company based in Austintown, Ohio, that has developed a processes that reduces printed circuit boards to char without producing the toxic fumes associated with more widely used smelting processes.
INL researchers Tedd Lister (right) and Luis Diaz-Aldana are reclaiming base metals and rare-earth elements from used cell phones and other electronics. Through the Small Business Voucher program, they are collaborating with a e-Materials Recovery of Austintown, Ohio. (INL photo by Chris Morgan)

To read the story, follow this link: Recyling Critical Materials: Collaboration With Ohio Company to Recover Gold, Minerals From Electronic Devices.

For this third round, EERE welcomes the chance to collaborate with small businesses that have little to no experience working with a DOE national laboratory.

Individual vouchers range from $50,000 to $300,000 per small business and can be used to perform collaborative research or access to lab instrumentation or facilities. Companies selected must also provide a 20 percent, in-kind cost share for completing voucher work.

Vouchers are available in nine clean-energy research and development areas:

  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Bioenergy
  • Buildings
  • Fuel cells
  • Geothermal
  • Solar
  • Vehicles
  • Water
  • Wind

Businesses interested in SBV funding must be U.S.-based and U.S.-owned, with no more than 500 full-time employees worldwide. In rounds three and four, $12 million is available for vouchers. Companies have until Nov. 10 to submit RFAs.

To learn more about Idaho National Laboratory’s expertise and the process to submit a RFA, please visit http://www.SBV.org or contact Tammie Borders, tammie.borders@inl.gov (208-526-3992).