This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

November 25, 2009

DOE to Invest $18 Million in Small Businesses Focused on Clean Energy

DOE announced on November 23 more than $18 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support small business innovation research, development and deployment of clean energy technologies. In this first phase of funding, 125 grants of up to $150,000 each will be awarded to 107 small advanced technology firms competitively selected from 950 applicants across the United States. Companies that demonstrate successful results with their new technologies and show potential to meet market needs will be eligible for $60 million in a second round of grants in the summer of 2010. Grants relating to energy efficiency and renewable energy include energy efficiency technologies for buildings and industries, water and solar power technologies, and technologies relating to the Smart Grid. Grants will also support technologies to address water use in power plants, power plant cooling technologies, materials and technologies for advanced gas turbines, and technologies to reduce industrial greenhouse gases.

In terms of energy efficiency in buildings, the grants went to technologies for advanced air conditioning and refrigeration; thermal load shifting, which uses thermal storage (such as ice) to shift building cooling loads to off-peak hours; cool roofs, which are reflective, light-colored roofs that deflect heat from buildings; and "smart building" technologies, which employ sensors and advanced controls to minimize power use. For industrial efficiency, the grants went to sensors and controls for efficient industrial processes; technologies for improving efficiency and environmental performance in the cement industry; low-cost manufacturing processes for innovative nanomaterials; novel approaches to recover heat from waste water streams; technologies to mitigate heat losses, fouling, and scaling in manufacturing operations; and technologies to reduce heat and energy losses in energy-intensive manufacturing processes, including distillation and dewatering systems.

For renewable energy systems, the grants went toward advances in hydropower systems or subsystems; new approaches to wave and current energy technologies and ocean thermal energy conversion systems; advanced solar technologies; solar-powered systems that produce fuels; and concentrating solar power systems for distributed applications. Grants focused on the Smart Grid were awarded for power-line sensor systems; smart controllers for household appliances; and technologies to support electric vehicles and customer-located energy generation systems, such as solar power systems and wind turbines. See the DOE press release.