DOE Awards $188 Million to Small Business for Clean Energy
August 4, 2010
DOE announced on August 2 that it will award $188 million—including $73 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding—to small businesses in 34 states to develop clean energy technologies with potential for commercialization. Funded through DOE's Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer program (STTR), the selections are for Phase II work. That means the 201 awards in 76 targeted topics will support the development of prototype or pilot operations for innovative technologies that have successfully passed the proof-of-concept stage. Targeted technology topics include the smart grid, energy efficient buildings, industrial energy use, and high performance computing.
Smart grids will reduce energy use and thereby mitigate the need for new power plants, but system devices from utility control systems to household appliances need to communicate. One such Phase II project, led by Infotility in Colorado, will develop a "Smart Controller" that enables communication among distributed energy systems, such as roof-top solar panels, plug-in electric vehicles, and residential demand response devices. In the solar energy sector, this DOE effort seeks to develop novel but commercially feasible solar concepts and devices. Under the advanced solar technologies topic, a Phase II project led by Luminit, LLC, in California will build a unique sun-tracking holographic concentrator that separately uses both visible light for photovoltaic power and infra-red light to provide heat and hot water for a building. In keeping with the goals of the Recovery Act, DOE's SBIR efforts have incorporated a fast-track process for applications and provided business incubator funding. See the DOE press release and the SBIR/STTR Programs Office Web site.