EERE Small Business Innovation Research
Small business research has come a long way since 1982 when the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Research Program (SBIR/STTR) first became law. With new approaches to research topics and new more flexible processes, EERE's SBIR/STTR program is leading the way. Since 2011, EERE has participated in a number of new solicitations involving dozens of new topics and subtopics that have resulted in awards to hundreds of new small business partners on projects well-aligned with our clean energy goals.
Follow this page for EERE SBIR/STTR news, including funding opportunities and outreach activities. For more information about SBIR/STTR, visit the Office of Science SC-SBIR website and the government-wide SBA-SBIR website. For a quick guide to EERE programs, view the EERE organization chart, and for tips on working with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), visit the DOE and small businesses page.
EERE's FY 2013 Phase I Awards Announced
The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy announced the award of 48 SBIR/STTR grants totaling nearly $8 million to small businesses in 17 states. These awards will help small businesses that have promising ideas for energy efficiency, renewable power, and sustainable transportation to explore the feasibility of innovative concepts which could be developed into prototype technologies. Forty-four awards will go to SBIR projects, and four will go to STTR projects. Among the concepts to be addressed are:
- A project to develop novel printable OLED lighting panels that will significantly reduce the manufacturing cost and enable larger panel size.
- A project to develop a plasma-based pulsed power technology as a cost-effective, form-fit- function replacement for conventional spark plugs.
- A project to develop an autonomous vehicle platform that can conduct routine inspections as well as subsea interventions – reducing cost for some operations by an order of magnitude.
- A project to develop extremely high pulse rate (femtosecond) laser welding to increase efficiency and lower the cost of manufacturing automobiles and other durable goods while increasing their operating efficiency.
Outreach: Pilot to Increase SBIR/STTR Applications from Women
Later this year, the EERE SBIR team will release details on a plan to increase the number of applications for EERE SBIR/STTR solicitations from women-owned small business concerns (WOSBCs) and from small business concerns with a woman principal investigator (WPI SBCs). Women are the focus of this pilot because they are by far the most underrepresented of the socially and economically disadvantaged small business concerns participating in SBIR/STTR. Since 1983, only 6% of the applications received have been from women (five times less than the 30% share of small business concerns that are now women-owned). Engaging a representative number of women is a mission issue—an economic issue—as well as a critical need for bringing new ideas and perspectives to the innovation table. The underrepresentation of women in EERE's SBIR/STTR program reflects their general underrepresentation in energy and clean tech. Women comprise 51% of the population, represent 80% of the purchasing power worldwide, and attend college in greater numbers than men in the United States—yet they hold only 12% of energy jobs. The percentage of WOSBC SBIR applicants has not changed since 1983, nor has their fraction of awards (see the National Academy of Science's DOE SBIR study), giving rise to this expanded outreach effort.
EERE and Related SBIR/STTR Solicitations
|FY2012||Phase I (Release 3)||2/20/13||Full list of awards announced|
|FY2013||Phase I (Release 1(SC))*||01/09/13||Awards announced|
|Phase I (Release 2)||04/30/13||Awards announced|
|Phase II (Release 1)||12/11/12||FOA closed (DE-FOA-0000782)|
|Phase II (Release 2)||04/17/13||FOA closed (DE-FOA-0000880)|
|Phase II (Release 3)||07/15/13||FOA issued|
|FY2014||Phase I (Release 1(SC))*||7/15/2013||Topics issued|
|9/3/2013||Letters of Intent due|
|Phase I (Release 2)||10/28/2013||Topics issued|
|12/16/2013||Letters of Intent due|
|Phase II (Release 1)||10/21/2013||FOA issued|
|Phase II (Release 2)||2/10/2014||FOA issued|
- May 14-16, 2013, National SBIR Conference, National Harbor, Maryland
- December 13-14, 2012, 8th Annual SBIR ASSETs Forum, Boston, Massachusetts
- November 13 – 15, 2012 SBIR/STTR 2012 National Conference, Portland, Oregon
- September 10 – 13, 2012, National SBIR Beyond Phase II Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana Presentations
- August 17, 2012, 2:00 pm, Webinar: Recent/Planned Changes in DOE SBIR and STTR Programs (archived)
- July 30 – August 1, 2012, Topics Webinar for FY 2013 Phase 1, Release 1 FOA (Including Topics 10-11, Catalysis and Wide-band gap Semiconductors) Webinar 1: Topics 3-15 (archived)
- July 24 – 26, 2012, SBIR & Global Trade Summit, Uncasville, Connecticut Presentations
EERE has tracked commercialized SBIR-funded technologies by estimating realized and potential energy, environmental, and economic benefits of selected projects.
Featured Case Study: Exelus Inc., starting in 2005 with an EERE SBIR grant, developed the Exelus Styrene Monomer (ExSyM) process, which potentially requires as much as 50% less capital investment, uses 40% less energy, and produces 40% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional styrene monomer production methods. Many commonly-used products, such as Styrofoam cups, are made from styrene monomer.
Download the Exelus case study.
Other EERE SBIR case studies:
Amonix Inc. developed a solar power supply which needs fewer reduces the need for costly solar cells by using Fresnel lenses to concentrate sunlight onto small, highly efficient photovoltaic cells. Download the Amonix case study.
Compact Membrane Systems Inc. developed a membrane vapor processor that recovers fuel vapors from gasoline refueling with 99% efficiency. Download the Compact Membrane Systems case study.
Energy Focus Inc. developed lighting technology that delivers light comparable to conventional lamps while using less energy, reducing watts per square foot YY% without sacrificing light levels. Download the Energy Focus case study.
GreenWood conducted a study that hybridized poplar trees for biomass feedstock. Download the GreenWood case study.
Membrane Technology and Research, Inc. (MTR) is using an SBIR Phase III award to build a pilot-scale system that will simultaneously produce turbine-ready hydrogen and high-pressure CO2 (for sequestration) using a syngas feed. Download the MTR case study.
Resodyn Corporation developed a technology that improves membrane performance by a factor of 5 to 10 compared to conventional mixing, offering improved separations capability for a wide variety of industries and applications. Read the Resodyn Corporation case study.
TDA Research Inc. developed and commercialized its direct oxidation process—a catalyst-based system for removing sulfur from natural gas and petroleum—to improve the energy efficiency for smaller fuel processing plants. Download the TDA Research case study.
UDC (teaming with Acuity Brands) is using an SBIR Phase III grant to adapt its phosphorescent organic light-emitting diode (PHOLED) technology for high-end commercial and institutional building applications. See the Universal Display Corporation case study.
Wind Tower Systems LLC (now Wasatch Wind LLC) developed the Space Frame tower, a new concept for wind turbine towers. Download the Wind Tower Systems case study.