Honda begins sales of Clarity Fuel Cell in Japan; targeting 200 units first year
UQM receives new follow-on order from Proterra to support increased demand for electric buses

DOE selects 33 clean energy businesses for nearly $6.7M in support under Small Business Vouchers pilot

The US Department of Energy (DOE) selected 33 small businesses to work directly with DOE national labs to accelerate the commercialization of new clean energy technologies.

The department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is investing nearly $6.7 million under Round 1 of the new Small Business Vouchers (SBV) pilot. For Round 1, the small businesses and laboratories will collaborate on advancing a number of clean energy technologies, including water, wind, bioenergy, solar, buildings, vehicles, fuel cells, geothermal technologies, and advanced manufacturing. The selected small businesses will work with scientists at nine department laboratories: Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL); National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL); Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL); Sandia National Laboratories (SNL); Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL); Idaho National Laboratory (INL); Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL); Argonne National Laboratory (ANL); and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

SBV is a collaborative, national effort that provides $20 million for US companies to help improve industry awareness of national laboratory capabilities and provide small and mid-size businesses access to the resources available within the national laboratory system. Vouchers range from $50,000-300,000.

The companies were competitively chosen from a pool of hundreds of applications. Almost 40% of the businesses represent new DOE-industry partnerships and relationships with the national labs. Building on the tremendous response of Round 1, the department also has begun accepting applications for Round 2 of the SBV pilot. A total of $13 million worth of funding remains; over the course of the year, up to 100 vouchers will be awarded.

Work in the vehicles area will focus on improved technologies for making vehicles safer, more efficient, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Organization Description
Big Delta Systems, working with ANL Big Delta will demonstrate that the new process at the core of its manufacturing technology is scalable, reliable and significantly reduces the cost of manufacturing high-performance Li-ion cells.
Connected Signals, working with ANL Connected Signals will obtain traffic signal data and demonstrate the benefits of real-time signal-state information for vehicles and drivers.
Transient Plasma Systems, working with ANL Transient Plasma Systems will enhance the understanding of its pulsed power ignition technology by applying performance metrics. If successful, this work will accelerate development and acceptance in the automotive marketplace. Working with Argonne National Laboratory
Cool-X, working with ORNL Cool-X will investigate the potential of nanolubricants, in particular nanodiamond additives, to improve the performance of high mileage vehicles by modifying surface finishes.
United Silicon Carbide (USC), working with ORNL USC will demonstrate the performance benefits of a SiC JFET cascade-based motor drive inverter through lab validation and provide system level efficiency and cost impact analysis.
Envia Systems, working with LBNL Envia will conduct diagnostic investigations of positive and negative electrode materials to understand their exact function and operation in Li-ion batteries.
XG Sciences, working with LBNL XGS will accelerate product development and reduce the risk associated with advancing XG SiG composite silicon/graphene anode materials to meet the lithium-ion battery performance targets of the DOE’s EV Everywhere Program.


Fuel Cells
Work in the fuel cells area will focus on developing several projects, whose aims include creating cheaper, more durable fuel cells.
Organization Description
Altergy Systems, working with SNL Altergy will create a multi-physics model of its proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell stack design using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation modeling. This work will contribute to design improvements for increased power density/current density uniformity.
Amsen Technologies, working with LANL Amsen will characterize its new polymer electrolyte membranes and evaluate against DOE targets for fuel cell applications. Results will optimize the development process of membranes for fuel cells.
Sustainable Innovations, working with LANL Sustainable Innovations will validate its unique and innovative multi-channel hydrogen fuel quality monitor through testing and performance characterization to optimize design.
Element One, working with NREL Element One will validate the performance of its sensors for commercialization in several different markets.
Midwest Energy Group, working with NREL MEG will conduct membrane stability and performance testing and evaluation of its prototype to move closer to field usage.
KWJ Engineering, working with LANL/ NREL KWJ will fabricate and deliver sensor and conduct product characterization to develop the next generation of gas-sensing system for hydrogen and other gases.
Treadstone Technologies, working with ORNL/LANL Treadstone will analyze the potential for deploying its patented coating and processing technologies in the electrolyzer and battery markets. This work will contribute to low-cost, metal bipolar-plate manufacturing processes and quality control system development.


Work in the bioenergy area will focus on improving methods and processes for converting cellulosic biomass into usable bio-based chemicals, made from renewable, domestic components.
Organization Description
Lygos, working with NREL/LBNL Lygos will test its patented fermentation pathway that also employs the use of engineered microbes to convert sugars to malonic acid—an intermediate in fragrances, pharmaceuticals, polyesters, and other chemicals—at a larger scale. They will also test this process using lignocellulosic sugars to validate biomass-based feedstocks for their product.
Visolis, working with NREL/PNNL Visolis will demonstrate the scale-up potential of their high-efficiency integrated bio-thermochemical conversion technology that utilizes a patented bioengineered microbe to convert (through fermentation) renewable lignocellulosic materials (plant sugars) into intermediates that can be catalytically upgraded into bio-based commodity products and fuels. They will focus specifically on the production of isoprene, a chemical used in rubber applications (e.g., car tires).


Advanced Manufacturing
Work in the advanced manufacturing area will focus on reducing manufacturing costs, optimizing methods and evaluating new processes in applications for 3D printing, LED devices, sensors, catalyst development, and bio-derived lignin, as well as developing pathways toward zero-emissions fuel cell electric vehicles.
Organization Description
iBeam Materials, working with SNL iBeam Materials seeks to disrupt the Lighting, Display and Wearable Electronics industries by creating new game-changing LED products.
Glucan Biorenewables, working with ORNL Glucan Biorenewables will characterize and test lignin as a carbon product to advance its unique gamma-Valerolactone (GVL)-derived lignin toward a functional, commercial carbon material.
Grid Logic, working with ORNL Grid Logic will develop a method for additively manufacturing large-scale metallic parts through In-Process Binder Decomposition and the Sintering of 3-dimensional parts formed with a metal injection molded process.
GVD Corporation, working with ORNL GVD will use measurement results to improve barrier coatings in an iterative fashion, resulting in the faster development of more effective coatings.
Mithra Technologies, working with INL Mithra’s prototypes could greatly enhance existing TAP reactor systems. This project will demonstrate how its tools support a unique approach to catalyst development.
Widetronix, working with LLNL Widetronix will leverage equipment infrastructure and technical expertise to the formation of the metal tritide beta source on the surface of the textured betavoltaic device to increase betavoltaic power output to medical devices.


Water Power
Work in the water area will focus on developing technologies to convert the ocean's waves, as well as other sources, such as canals, into clean, cost-competitive energy
Organization Description
Percheron Power, working with PNNL Perchron Power will focus on the development and deployment of an advanced hydroelectric turbine for low head applications.
Columbia Power Technologies, working with NREL/SNL Columbia Power will work with the labs to accelerate the commercialization timeline for a proprietary wave energy conversion system–the StingRAY–that converts ocean waves into clean, cost-competitive, utility-scale electricity.


Wind Power
Work in the wind area will focus on eliminating market barriers for the adoption of commercial wind turbines by improving prediction models.
Organization Description
Micron Optics, Inc. working with SNL Micron will focus on product testing and validation. If successful, Micron Optics will use this work to eliminate market barriers for the seamless integration of fiber optic systems in commercial wind turbines.


Solar Power
Work in the solar area will focus on developing new, more efficient solar collectors, as well as integrating new solar technologies into the grid.
Organization Description
Renewable Power Conversion, working with SNL RPC will address areas for critical enhancements directly relevant to the commercialization of its marco-micro inverter.
SkySun, working with SNL Skysun will perform detailed systems modeling on a novel working prototype of a ganged heliostat with the potential to drastically reduce both component and installation costs.


Geothermal Power
Work in the geothermal area will focus on improving tools used to access and test geothermal power.
Organization Description
FastCAP, working with SNL FastCAP has developed technical solutions to power downhole tools while operating at extreme high temperatures. This work will demonstrate that the technology is ready for use in a geothermal well.
Geothermal Design Center, working with ORNL Geothermal Design Center will perform validation to improve geothermal heat pump (GHP) loopfield designs, which will provide the GHP industry with new capability to qualify GHP equipment.


Work in the buildings area will focus on improving the efficiency and cost effectiveness of building energy systems, including HVAC systems.
Organization Description
Be Power Tech, working with ORNL Be Power Tech will test and obtain operational performance measurements, allowing BPT to compare various system configurations, characterize system performance across weather and load conditions, and observe system reactions to transient conditions that approximate real-world use cases.
KCF Technologies, working with ORNL  KCF will demonstrate its cost effective, wireless sensor for measuring pump efficiency. Doing so will expand KCF’s suite of predictive maintenance tools to target a potentially rich market and broaden its business sector.
Lucid Design Group, working with LBNL Lucid design will combine its aggregate data and statistical tools with the lab’s/DOE’s reference data sets and physics modeling tools to create more actionable feedback for buildings and users in a way that is currently not possible without heavy investment in hardware and services.
NorthWrite, working with PNNL NorthWrite will implement and demonstrate advanced automated performance monitoring and diagnostic algorithms for equipment and systems of small and medium commercial buildings in a scalable, cloud-based software architecture, validated using experimental data and field tested on multiple real world buildings.


The comments to this entry are closed.