DOE Invests In Small Business Clean Energy Innovation

poll-mounted solar photovoltaic panels
DOE’s funding will promote small business clean energy innovation.
(cc) Jimmy Joe

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced more than $18 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support small business innovation research, development, and deployment of clean energy technologies. In this first phase of funding, 125 grants of up to $150,000 each will be awarded to 107 small advanced technology firms across the United States.

“Small businesses are drivers of innovation and are crucial to the development of a competitive clean energy U.S. economy,” said Chu. “These investments will help ensure small businesses are able to compete in the clean energy economy, creating jobs and developing new technologies to help decrease carbon pollution and increase energy efficiency.”

The companies were competitively selected from a pool of 950 applicants through a special fast-track process with an emphasis on near-term commercialization and job creation. Companies that demonstrate successful results with their new technologies and show potential to meet market needs will be eligible for $60 million in a second round of grants in the summer of 2010.

Grants were awarded in each of the following ten topic areas:

* Advanced Building Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Thermal Load Shifting, and Cool Roofs (15 projects, for up to $2,241,229 total). Projects in this area will seek to improve efficiency of air conditioning and refrigeration while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing peak demand, and reducing thermal loads on roofs.

* Water Usage in Electric Power Production (6 projects, for up to $878,144). This effort will focus on decreasing the amount of water used in thermoelectric power generation, improving water quality through the development of advanced water treatment technologies, and developing innovative approaches to desalination using Combined Heat and Power projects.

* Power Plant Cooling (1 project, $150,000). This project will focus on advanced heat exchange technology for power plant cooling.

* Advanced Gas Turbines and Materials (11 projects, for up to $1,637,033). These projects will research high temperature materials and component cooling techniques, high performance materials for nuclear applications, materials that help save energy and diminish carbon emissions, and novel designs for high-efficiency and low-cost distributed power systems.

* Sensors, Controls, and Wireless Networks (12 projects, for up to $1,787,061). Projects in this area will develop building applications to minimize power use, sensors and controls for efficient industrial processes, wireless networks and sensors for monitoring nuclear power systems, and power line sensor systems for the Smart Grid.

* Advanced Water Power Technology Development (12 projects, for up to $1,747,259). Projects will focus on advances in hydropower systems or subsystems, as well as new approaches to wave and current energy technologies and ocean thermal energy conversion systems.

* Smart Controllers for Smart Grid Applications (8 projects, for up to $1,166,871). These projects will help develop smart controllers for household appliance to enable Smart Grid services, technologies to support electric vehicles, and support of distributed energy generation systems.

* Advanced Solar Technologies (12 projects, for up to $2,783,996). Projects will focus on achieving significant cost and performance improvements over current technologies, solar-powered systems that produce fuels, and Concentrated Solar Power systems for distributed applications.

* Advanced Industrial Technologies Development (25 projects, for up to $3,709,564). Projects in this area will focus on improving efficiency and environmental performance in the cement industry, low-cost manufacturing processes for innovative nanomaterials, novel approaches to water heat recovery, and transformational technologies to address high Global Warming Potential industrial gases.

* Advanced Manufacturing Processes (16 projects, for up to $2,222,110). These projects will focus on mitigating heat losses, fouling and scaling in unit operations, and improving heat and energy losses in energy intensive manufacturing processes, including distillation and dewatering systems.

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