DOE to Pump $126M in Small Businesses for R&D in Clean Energy Innovation

By: Sharjeel Sohaib


Sep 13, 2023


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  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced to inject $126 million into small businesses, helping them conduct R&D in clean energy innovation.
  • This investment spans diverse mission areas, including clean energy, cybersecurity, fusion energy, and nuclear nonproliferation.
  • Through Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards, this initiative promises to bridge the gap between groundbreaking scientific discoveries and practical commercial applications.

To foster innovation in clean energy, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will channel $126 million into research and development grants for 90 small businesses across 27 states. The project targets many mission areas, including clean energy, cybersecurity, fusion energy, and nuclear nonproliferation.

Fueling Clean Energy Dreams

Small businesses, often the growth engine of the U.S. economy, have been handed a pivotal role in decarbonization, heightened national security, and the ambitious climate goals set by President Biden.

“Big ideas become realities in the labs, workshops, factories, and plants of Americaโ€™s small businesses.”

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm

These businesses, employing almost half of the private-sector workforce in the U.S., are poised to address monumental challenges, including climate change.

Small Business Innovation: Bridging Lab to Marketplace

Small businesses are a linchpin in transitioning breakthroughs from scientific labs to commercial success stories. The DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards serve as catalysts, transforming DOE-backed scientific discoveries into tangible products and services. Moreover, these awards foster the development of specialized technologies and instruments that advance scientific exploration.

Phase II Triumphs

The $126 million in grants, funded through the DOEโ€™s SBIR/STTR program, target Phase II research and development projects. These projects either demonstrated feasibility during Phase I or built upon previous Phase II awards by advancing prototypes and processes. Notably, the median Phase II award is $1.1 million, spanning a two-year period.

Geographic Diversity, Holistic Impact

The 90 recipient companies span 27 states, reflecting a broad geographic reach that echoes the importance of clean energy and innovation throughout the nation. California leads with 22 grants, followed by Massachusetts (11), and several states receiving multiple grants. This geographic diversity underscores the national significance of the DOE’s investment in these forward-looking endeavors.

A Diversified Approach to Clean Energy

The DOE’s investment covers many project areas, each contributing to the broader goal of advancing clean energy and technological innovation. Examples of project topics include radiation detection, energy systems cybersecurity, advanced grid technologies, hydrogen and fuel cell technology, carbon capture and storage, fusion energy systems, high-energy physics, and quantum information science.

Bridging Science and Business

This ambitious initiative bridges scientific laboratory discoveries and real-world business impact. Small businesses are now poised to take these innovations to the next level, forging a path toward a cleaner and more secure energy future.

For more information about the DOEโ€™s SBIR and STTR programs, visit here. Further details about the projects are available from the Office of Science.


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