By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.
On January 21, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs Office announced the launch of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Tibbetts Awards. The Tibbetts Awards recognize companies, organizations, and individuals exemplifying the best of the best in the SBIR and STTR programs. Named after the founder of the SBIR program, Roland Tibbetts, the awards also help DOE to document the economic, technical, and societal benefits from SBIR/STTR funding. Nominees can consist of an individual, a company, or an organization that promotes the mission and goals of the SBIR/STTR programs. The mission and goals include:
- Stimulation of technological innovation;
- Work with small businesses to meet federal development needs;
- Encouragement of diverse participation in innovation and entrepreneurship;
- Increase of private sector commercialization of innovations derived research and development (R&D); and
- Foster technology transfer through cooperative R&D between small businesses and research institutions.
Nominations are open through February 21, 2020, and can be submitted via this website.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On December 6, 2019, DOE announced that the applications currently being accepted for free assistance preparing Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) FY 2020 Phase I Release 2 applications. There are a variety of eligibility criteria, and because space is limited, DOE Phase 0 applicants are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. Each small business, however, is evaluated for selection to receive administrative and technical assistance based on the following selection criteria:
- The small business offers technology innovations relevant to the current and open DOE SBIR/STTR research topics and subtopics (topics can be accessed at science.osti.gov/sbir);
- The small business is or will be prior to award an eligible small business per 13 CFR Section 121.702;
- The small business has not previously applied for an SBIR or STTR award from the DOE; and
- Small business and/or owner has not received any Phase 0 technical assistance from DOE.
Qualified small businesses can submit an application at www.dawnbreaker.com/doephase0/apply.php.
By Lynn L. Bergeson
On September 30, 2019, DOE’s Smart Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs Office announced the opening of applications for Cohort of Innovators through October 31, 2019. Three DOE National Laboratories are accepting such applications: (1) Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) Chain Reaction Innovation; (2) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Innovation Crossroads; and (3) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL) Cyclotron Road program. Each of the programs recruits a cohort of entrepreneurial scientists and engineers from around the world for two years. The goal of the programs is to allow innovators to mature their ideas until they can align with the most suitable commercial partners to take their technology to scale. Selected participants will receive a two-year fellowship, which includes a stipend depending on education and experience, along with health insurance and a travel allowance. Research funding and access to research facilities, equipment, and expertise are also provided, accompanied by a startup curriculum and a community of peers. The startup curriculum includes intensive entrepreneurial training, mentorship, and networking opportunities. Again, applications are due by October 31, 2019, and can be found in the National Laboratories’ respective websites: ANL, ORNL, and LBL.
By Kathleen M. Roberts
On November 27, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued an announcement for its second funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs for fiscal year (FY) 2018. The Phase I Release 2 FOA will provide funding for innovations that address multiple research and development programs throughout DOE, including the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Phase I grants are six to 12 months in duration with maximum award amounts of $150,000 or $225,000, depending on the research topic. Successful Phase I projects will compete for Phase II funding in FY 2019 to carry out prototype or processes research and development. More information on the FOA is available here.
By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.
On June 21, 2017, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that 32 small businesses across 18 states will receive a total of $32 million in grants to develop clean energy technologies that have a strong potential for commercialization and job creation. The funding was provided by DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The 32 projects were selected based on scientific and technical merit, as well as the commercial potential of the project. Seven of the 32 proposed projects involve technology for bioenergy and biobased production, specifically:
- Shockkwave, LLC received $1,000,000 to increase production of domestic, low greenhouse gas biofuel by harvesting corn fiber from corn grain to produce cellulosic biofuels;
- Mainstream Engineering Corporation received $999,993 to improve the oil yield and reduce aqueous byproducts during hydrothermal liquefaction of wet wastes;
- BioHybrid Solutions LLC received $995,569 to make biodiesel a cost-effective, sustainable fuel by using new polymer-modified enzyme to convert efficiently cheap and renewable feedstocks into an inexpensive, high-quality biodiesel;
- CF Technologies, Inc. received $999,997 to convert rancid, no-value, environmentally adverse brown grease into a high quality, valued biodiesel fuel;
- Sironix Renewables received $1,000,000 to implement a new catalyst technology that produces a new class of detergent molecules from renewable sources that are superior and cheaper than current detergents, enabling detergent formulations with higher concentrations, which reduces chemical environmental impact and manufacturing and transportation energy consumption;
- MOgene Green Chemicals received $1,000,000 to develop a sustainable, biobased biocatalyst to capture methane, carbon dioxide, and other trace gases present in biogas or natural gas sources and convert them into high value products; and
- NexTech Materials, Ltd. received $1,000,000 to create new catalysts that will allow more efficient generation of fuels from biogas.
More information on the recipients is available at the DOE Office of Science website.
By Kathleen M. Roberts
On May 24, 2017, DOE announced that 68 small businesses across 24 states will receive a total of $72 million in grants to support innovative R&D. The funding was provided by DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The 68 small businesses received Phase II R&D awards after demonstrating technical feasibility for innovations during their Phase I grants and competed for funding for prototype or process development during Phase II. Two of the 73 proposed projects involve the production of biobased products, specifically:
- Visolis, Inc received $1,010,000 to produce C5 hydrocarbons from organic waste biomass; and
- Trash2Cash-Energy LLC received $999,909 to convert landfill gas to drop-in renewable fuel.
Additional awards may be announced as additional appropriated funds become available to the DOE SBIR and STTR programs. More information on the recipients is available at the DOE Office of Science website.