DOE Awards $63M to Businesses Solving Scientific Problems


(Credit: DOE)

by | Feb 24, 2023

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The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced awards totaling more than $68 million that will go to 53 small businesses. The projects selected include developing tools for climate research and advanced materials and technologies for clean energy conversion. Understanding the climate and the ability to convert and store energy will be instrumental to meeting President Biden’s goal of a completely clean electrical grid by 2035 and net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050.  

“From the Industrial Revolution to Silicon Valley, small businesses have always propelled innovation in America, and they will play a critical role in the transition to clean energy,” said US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The companies working on the incredible projects announced today are creating a bridge between the laboratory and the marketplace, where the rubber will meet the road.”

The businesses are spread across 23 states and are focused on dozens of research areas, including rare earth elements and nuclear physics. The projects – 54 in total, as one company is working on two of them – are being funded by four different programs in DOE’s Office of Science: 

  • Advanced Scientific Computing Research (7) 
  • Basic Energy Sciences (28) 
  • Biological and Environmental Research (12) 
  • Nuclear Physics (7) 

For example, one project aims to make geothermal energy systems, which are powered by heat from beneath the Earth’s surface, cost-competitive, while another is developing a tool that can help site infrastructure to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions. 

A significant barrier to the large-scale deployment of hybrid energy systems with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) to combat climate change is the lack of access to decision-making software for stakeholders. This project will develop advanced hybrid energy CCS decision-making software to help quantify the costs and risks associated with the technology. 

These awards were funded through DOE Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards, which strive to transform DOE-supported science and technology breakthroughs into viable products and services. The awards also support the development of specialized technologies and instruments that aid in scientific discovery. Selections are for SBIR and STTR Phase II research and development, meaning the businesses have demonstrated technical feasibility for innovations during Phase I of their grants. The median Phase II award is $1,100,000 for a period of two years.

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