The United States Department of Energy (DOE) will be awarding 231 grants that will be worth $46 million in 2019. These grants will be awarded to small businesses in 39 states as well as the District of Colombia. These grants will be supplied by two separate DOE programs, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. The grants announced by DOE are being provided for Phase I research and development of the selected projects.
The Phase I grants are to be 6 – 12 months long with the average award amount being around $200,000. With these Phase I grants, the small businesses that are developing projects will be allowed to research the technical feasibility of their projects and how the projects will advance the mission and goals of the Department of Energy.
Projects that are successful in their Phase I research and development will be able to apply for a Phase II grant in 20202 which will allow the projects to continue the development of processes and prototypes that will confirm and validate their progress in Phase I. These Phase II grants will be for a longer period of time, up to two years in duration, and will provide larger rewards up to $1.1 million.
Here is a selection of the projects receiving DOE Phase I grants for 2019. Each project is associated with a specific office within the Department of Energy. The list below includes the DOE office that is providing the funding, the title of the project, and the project summary. This is just a small sampling of the 231 projects that were given grants for 2019. A complete list of the Phase I and Phase II grants awarded for 2019 can be found on the U.S Department of Energy’s Office of Science page.
Sampling of Projects
Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response: Physical layer Authentication of Wired Networks: “The convergence of operational technology and information technology systems has left many critical infrastructure deployments vulnerable to cyber attack. The Physical layer Authentication for Wired Networks effort intends to detect and mitigate a number of these attacks by exploiting intrinsic physical features of device communication signals.”
Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation: Compact Ion Cyclotron for Nuclear Security Applications
“This project will develop a compact cyclotron to help DOE and other agencies find and analyze hidden nuclear materials. The cyclotron can also produce isotopes for medical imaging and theranostics, and can be used as part of an ion therapy machine.”
Office of Electricity: Blockchain Protected Security Fabric for Infrastructure Protection
“In many cases, devices used in the electrical grid lack modern access control security (such as passwords) and are vulnerable to cyber attacks. Many legacy devices are being connected and mixed with new technologies in the field to facilitate adoption of clean energy while ensuring grid resiliency and reliability. This DOE project will demonstrate how blockchain can be used to protect legacy and future devices, as well as applications, deployed in the field to protect the nation’s power grid.”
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Electrospray Deposition of Perovskite Solar Cells
“Current formulations of perovskite-sensitized solar cell suffer from premature environmental degradation limiting the commercial appeal of the otherwise ground breaking material. NanoSonic, with Penn State University will address material composition to retain solar conversion performance while increasing device lifetime.”
Office of Environmental Management: Flaw Sizing Techniques for GWPA Inspection of DST Primary Liner Floors: “Nuclear waste storage tanks must be regularly inspected to prevent leaks that threaten human health and the environment, but existing technologies cannot inspect many inaccessible regions of these tanks. This project serves to further develop a specialized robot-deployed ultrasonic scanning technology that has shown excellent potential for addressing this need.”
Office of Fossil Energy: CO2 to Carbon and Water via Plasma Catalysis: “We seek to use carbon dioxide to make value added graphene, a form of carbon superior to graphite as a reinforcement for plastics, while helping to reduce greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.”
Office of Fusion Energy Sciences: Amplifiers for High Repetition Rate Diode-Pumped Ultra-Intense Femtosecond Lasers: “The unprecedented combination of ultra-high power, high energy and high average power characteristics of the ultrafast lasers developed by this program will enable the implementation of new technologies such as bright ultrafast x-ray and gamma ray sources and compact electron and ion accelerators, with direct applications in medicine and materials inspection and modification. The commercialization of the high energy, high repetition rate lasers will also have important industrial applications such as materials modification of critical mechanical components which include airplane turbine blades.”
Office of High Energy Physics: Optimization of Additive Manufacturing Technique for 3D Superconducting Multi-Qubit Systems: “RadiaBeam is developing a “3D printing” technology capable of fabricating the next generation of critical components for quantum computers, a promising new technology that could allow breakthroughs in secure communications, cryptography, weapons development, medicine, finance—practically every field in science, economics and defense.”
Office of Nuclear Energy: Development of a Small Electromagnetic Pump for Molten Salt Reactors
“Research, design and development of electromagnetic pumps for advanced nuclear reactors are being performed through a DoE SBIR grant with the goal of reactivating the US capability to develop thermomagnetic systems for nuclear reactors.”
The projects listed above along with the others receiving funding in 2019 represent what small business in the United States can do and how they can benefit the U.S. and its citizens with their creative and innovative projects. Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy and play a key role in both encouraging innovation and creating jobs.
The Small Business Innovation Research program and the Small Business Technology Transfer program were created by the U.S. Congress to empower small businesses to improve and develop innovation at federal agencies. When the government works together with independent small businesses, the opportunities and advantages for both parties to benefit are great. If you need assistance with nsf funding search, doe grant opportunities, or dod funding be sure to check us out.