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Eight Small Businesses Awarded Vouchers to Work with Berkeley Lab on Clean Energy Technologies

Department of Energy’s Small Business Vouchers awarded to 43 small businesses.

Program contact: Jodi Bellacicco, 510-486-5445

Eight small businesses have been awarded vouchers to work with the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) to bring their next-generation clean energy technologies to the marketplace faster.

These vouchers were awarded as part of DOE’s Small Business Vouchers pilot, which announced Thursday 43 small businesses that will receive $8 million in vouchers in its second round of awards. The vouchers will pay for expertise and use of facilities at national labs that will help small businesses advance their technologies toward commercialization.

Eight of the vouchers totaling $1.1 million, and ranging in value from $50,000 to $300,000, were awarded to the following small businesses to work with Berkeley Lab:

  • FWD:Energy of Birmingham, Michigan­­⎯low-cost method to make high performance anode carbon from scrap tires
  • HelioBioSys of Woodside, California⎯efficient cyanobacteria sugar production system
  • Mango Materials of Albany, California⎯advancing downstream processing of bioproducts from methane
  • Zymochem of Emeryville, California⎯development of a novel bioprocess for the purification of adipic acid
  • Outsmart Power Systems of Natick, Massachusetts⎯equipment level demand side management and demand response
  • Elko Heat Co. of City of Wells, Nevada⎯geothermal development near Wells, Nevada
  • Opus 12 of Berkeley⎯computational model to advance H2 and CO co-production
  • Saratoga Energy of Berkeley⎯low-cost high-power anodes for electric vehicle batteries
The Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit (ABPDU), a manufacturing demonstration facility, is one of the resources at Berkeley Lab available to small businesses under the Small Business Voucher pilot. (Credit: Roy Kaltschmidt/Berkeley Lab)

The Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit (ABPDU), a manufacturing demonstration facility, is one of the resources at Berkeley Lab available to small businesses under the Small Business Voucher pilot. (Credit: Roy Kaltschmidt/Berkeley Lab)

“We are thrilled to be working with the Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit (ABPDU) at Berkeley Lab,” said Allison Pieja, Chief Technology Officer of Mango Materials. “Their expertise will help us accelerate commercialization while exploring downstream processing options.”

Berkeley Lab was chosen by the Department of Energy as one of five national laboratories to lead the pilot and was named a lead lab in the Advanced Manufacturing, Fuel Cells, Geothermal and Vehicle technology areas.

“Partnerships with entrepreneurs and small business are a key part of Berkeley Lab’s mission,” said Elsie Quaite-Randall, Berkeley Lab’s Chief Technology Transfer Officer. “Through collaborations such as the SBV pilot, Berkeley Lab can not only have economic impact in the clean energy sector, it will help small businesses succeed.”

National Impact

The small businesses selected today will have the ability to work with 12 different national laboratories, now including Savannah River National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, and the National Energy Technology Laboratory.

This is in addition to the other core national laboratories already facilitating the pilot: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, as well as Los Alamos National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who are partnering with small businesses on projects.

With 23 million small businesses currently operating in the U.S., the pilot is heavily targeted in attracting companies that typically would not have access to the department’s national labs’ scientific expertise and resources. The SBV pilot makes it possible to direct the power of the national laboratories toward specific problems identified by small businesses by pairing these companies with a national laboratory uniquely qualified to solve their challenges.

“Accelerating the pace of clean energy innovation is one of my top priorities,” said David Friedman, acting assistant secretary of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “The Small Business Vouchers pilot breaks down barriers for some of our greatest entrepreneurial minds and allows them to work with our national laboratories across sectors and industries to create groundbreaking solutions for energy and climate change issues.”

SBV is a collaborative, national effort that provides $20 million for U.S. 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. Following open calls for “Requests for Assistance” (RFAs), businesses are competitively selected to work with a national lab to address their needs, and provided vouchers, worth up to $300,000 at the lab.

More opportunities to apply

The SBV pilot will offer another round of competition to small businesses in late 2016/early 2017. To be eligible, businesses must be U.S.-based and -owned with no more than 500 full-time employees worldwide.

Businesses can apply to Berkeley Lab through the SBV website for vouchers valued from $50,000 to $300,000. Successful applicants will be required to provide a 20 percent cost share upon award.

This is the second round of awards. In March 2016, 33 companies were selected to receive $6.7 million in funding. Four of these are currently underway at Berkeley Lab with vouchers totaling $700,000.

The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. SBV is part of EERE’s Technology-to-Market program. To learn more about the pilot, including eligibility and how to apply, visit www.SBV.org.

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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world’s most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab’s scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. For more, visit www.lbl.gov.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

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