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DOE to award up to $9M for Small Business programs in broad range of technologies including vehicles, biomass and hydrogen and fuel cells

The Department of Energy (DOE) is making available up to $9 million (DE-FOA-0000715) for roughly 50 energy efficiency and renewable energy projects through the Department’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The Funding Opportunity (FOA) marks the first time that DOE has issued three Phase I solicitations in a single year.

The FOA covers 8 broad topics—Vehicles; Biomass; Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies; Advanced Manufacturing; Buildings; Solar; Water; and Wind—and 30 subtopics aligned with Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) programs. EERE is the only program Office participating in this FOA.

Phase I projects must complete (1) a preliminary design; (2) a characterization of laboratory devices using the best measurements available, including a description of the measurement methods; and (3) the preparation of a road map with major milestones, that would lead to a production model of a system that would be built in Phase II. In Phase II, devices suitable for near-commercial applications must be built and tested, and issues associated with manufacturing the units in large volumes at a competitive price must be addressed.

Vehicles. EERE’s Vehicles Technologies Program (VTP) is focused on developing technologies to enable average new vehicle fuel economy of more than 60 mpg (3.9 L/100 km) for cars and more than 43 mpg (5.5 L/100 km) for trucks by 2025. VTP seeks projects in the following areas:

  • Electric Drive Vehicle Batteries. Applicants are sought to develop electrochemical energy storage technologies which support commercialization of micro, mild, and full HEVs, PHEVs, and EVs. Some specific improvements which are of interest, but are not limited to, include: new low-cost materials, improvements in manufacturing processes, speed or yield, improved cell/pack design minimizing inactive material, significant improvement in specific energy (Wh/kg) or energy density (Wh/L), and improved safety.

    Proposals must clearly demonstrate how they advance the current state of the art and address the relevant performance metrics. When appropriate, evaluation of the technology should be performed in accordance with applicable test procedures or recommended practices as published by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC).

    Phase I feasibility studies must be evaluated in full cells (not half cells) greater than 200 mAh in size while Phase II technologies should be demonstrated in full cells greater than 2Ah.

    Proposals will be deemed non-responsive if the proposed technology is prohibitive to market penetration due to high cost; requires substantial infrastructure investments or industry standardization to be commercially viable; cannot accept high power recharge pulses from regenerative breaking. Proposals deemed to be duplicative of research that is already in progress or similar to proposals already reviewed this year will not be funded; therefore all submissions should clearly explain how the proposed work differs from other work in the field.

  • Exhaust Aftertreatment Materials. In order of priority, low temperature exhaust after-treatment catalysts are needed for the reduction of Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx), Carbon Monoxide (CO), or unburned hydrocarbons (HCs) from internal combustion engines. To meet the demands of future high efficiency engines new low temperature catalyst materials for exhaust after-treatment having the ability to reach 90% efficiency at or below 150 °C are needed.

  • Innovative Engine Boosting Technologies. Innovative technologies for engine boosting (turbocharger and supercharger)systems that will improve the FTP cycle fuel economy by 3 percent, expand the effective operating range by 15- 20 percent over current production systems with improved transient response, and decreased system cost are needed.

  • Differential Compression and Expansion Technologies. Innovative technologies to enable differential compression and expansion in piston engines resulting in significantly improved efficiencies compared to state-of-the-art engines (currently 38% for gasoline and 42% for diesel engines).

  • Subsystem Component Technologies. Innovative subsystem component technologies in the areas of high-resolution low-cost NOx and NH3 sensors.

  • Thermoelectric Technologies. The efficiency of thermoelectric couples is determined by the Figure of Merit (ZT) which is defined as the Seebeck Coefficient (S) squared multiplied by the electrical conductivity (e) divided by thermal conductivity (k). The current state of the art couples have a ZT=1.3. The applicant must demonstrate how the technology can lead to thermoelectric couples that have a ZT>1.6 across a thermal gradient of 650 °C to 30 °C. Applicant also must demonstrate a reasonable context of commercial viability.

    In Phase II, the applicant must develop an assembly or module that could lead to $1.00/Watt installed in a vehicle thermoelectric generator at high volume production.

  • Materials for Traction Drive Motor Laminations, Cores, or Structures. New materials for automotive traction drive motor laminations, cores, or structures that could achieve significant cost savings and contribute to achieving the DOE motor cost target of $4.7/kW in 2020 are needed. Applications should propose specific material innovations in one of these three areas and address how they can lead to reduced costs with respect to currently available materials.

  • Engine Friction Reduction. Applicants are sought to develop innovative technologies to enable the reduction of friction in engine/driveline systems of existing vehicles. Technology must be able to be used as a drop- in or be retrofitted into existing on road vehicles and demonstrate at least a 3% reduction in energy required to propel the vehicle. Incremental costs associated with the technology must be shown to be absorbed by the associated fuel use reduction

Biomass. EERE is seeking grant applications in the following subtopics:

  • Cellulosic and Algal Biofuels. Technologies for the use of cellulosic and algal biomass in the production of drop-in biofuels, such as renewable gasoline, diesel, and JP-8 to less than $3 per gallon at the plant gate (in 2007 dollars and in gallons of gasoline equivalent (gge)).

  • Biobased Products. Product diversification through technologies relevant to the production of biobased products that (a) can increase the feasibility of fuel production in a biorefinery by reducing the minimum fuel sales price (MFSP) by at least $0.35/gge at the plant gate; and (b) have a market potential of 500,000 metric tons/year. To ensure competitiveness, the projected sales price of any non-fuel, biobased products must be shown to be lower than from existing sources.

Hydrogen And Fuel Cell Technologies. Key objectives of EERE’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies (FCT) Program include reducing fuel cell system cost to $30/kW (equivalent to the cost of a gasoline internal combustion engine) and improving durability to 5,000 hours (equivalent to 150,000 miles of driving) for automotive fuel cell systems by 2017, and meeting the hydrogen fuel threshold cost of $2–4/gallon gasoline equivalent (gge) by 2020. Grant applications that enable the following are sought:

  • Transportation Fuel Cells. Transportation fuel cell system components that could contribute to an 80 kW (net) fuel cell system cost of $30/kW, produced at high volume (500,000 systems per year), and 5,000 hours durability (the projected time to 10% voltage degradation).

  • Hydrogen Storage. Development of fibers, resins and/or composite additives that will result in composites for gas cylinders for hydrogen storage that meet or exceed the performance specifications of today’s cylinders manufactured with composites using T700 carbon fiber (e.g., greater than 600 ksi ultimate tensile strength) but with costs at least 25% lower than the currently projected cost of the carbon fiber layer for a 700 bar tank system ($ 2720) when manufactured in high volumes.

Advanced Manufacturing. EERE seeks transformational manufacturing and materials technologies that reduce primary energy use in manufacturing by 50% without sacrificing product quality, production throughput or life cycle cost. The technology should provide a pathway to a doubling of energy productivity in a US industry through innovative manufacturing and novel materials concepts, including (a) manufacturing process and (b) advanced materials technologies. Grant applications are sought in the following subtopics:

  • Manufacturing Process. Manufacturing technologies of interest include innovations in: reactions and separations such as high performance membranes and catalysts; alternatives to conventional high-temperature processing technologies; and waste heat recovery and recycling that reduce energy use ≥50%.

  • Advanced Materials. Materials technologies of interest include: thermal and degradation resistant materials such as advanced ceramics and coatings; highly-functional, high-performance materials, such as advanced composites, engineered polymers, and low-density and relatively high-strength metals; and lower cost materials for solid state energy technologies such as photovoltaic and thermoelectric materials that reduce energy use ≥50%.

Buildings. Buildings use more energy than any other sector of the US economy, consuming more than 70% of electricity and 50% of natural gas. The EERE Building Technologies Program (BTP) seeks technologies that have the potential to contribute to a 50% reduction in energy demand by residential and commercial buildings at less than the cost of the energy saved (800 Trillion BTUs in annual savings by 2020; 3,000 in 2030).

In particular, BTP seeks projects in the following areas: (a) Solid State Lighting Devices and Packages, (b) Cold Climate Air Source Heat Pumps (c) High COP Electric Water Heater, (d) GSHP Loop Cost Reduction, (e) Fast Payback Solar Water Heaters, (f) Building Envelope Materials (g) Building Controls and (h) Commercial Building Power Meters.

Solar. The DOE SunShot Initiative aims to achieve subsidy-free, cost-competitive solar by the end of the decade. That translates to about $1/watt installed system price at the utility scale or 5-6 cents per kilowatt-hour. SunShot seeks proposals for the development of innovative technologies the broad areas of: (a) Photovoltaic (PV) modules, (b) Power Electronics & Balance of System (Hardware) (c) Balance of System (Non-hardware), and (d) Concentrating Solar Power.

Water. EERE is seeking the development of innovative technologies in targeted broad areas identified by its the Water Power Technology Program, and seeks proposals for large cost reductions in the deployment of US water (hydro- and marine) power resources to enable water power to provide 15% of US electricity by 2030, including (a) Marine Energy and (b) Hydropower and Hydrokinetic Applications.

Wind. The EERE Wind Technology Program seeks proposals for innovations that significantly advance the goal of large cost reductions in the deployment of US wind power resources, including (a) Logistics for Land-Based Wind Power and (b) Development of a Met-Ocean Package for Offshore Wind.


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