The Department of Energy (DOE) is making available $9 million to help about 50 small businesses advance innovative energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
The funds are for outside-the-box approaches that improve manufacturing processes, boost the efficiency of buildings, reduce reliance on oil, and generate electricity from renewable sources to bring new clean energy solutions to market faster.
Small businesses are responsible for much of the innovation in green technology based on the number of patents they own.
DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is offering the funding through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which allow federal agencies with large research and development budgets to set aside a fraction of their funding for competitions among small businesses.
Small businesses that win awards in these programs keep the rights to any technologies they develop and are encouraged to commercialize them.
This "broad topic" research solicitation gives small business broadly framed problems to work on and goals to achieve - and gives them the freedom to innovate - instead of providing narrow or prescriptive technological solutions to be improved. It also encourages small businesses with groundbreaking concepts to become part of the EERE programs' research teams.
Selected small businesses will receive one-year awards of up to $150,000 to explore the feasibility of their proposed projects. Awardees with successful projects will have the opportunity to compete for more than $1 million in follow-on funding.
Application instructions and eligibility requirements are here under Reference Number DE-FOA-0000715: