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NREL Announces Round Two Selections for the DOE Small Business Vouchers Pilot

From testing fuel cell components to modeling software for building technology, NREL experts will help firms reach the next level of success

August 18, 2016

The Energy Department's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will help 12 companies advance their technologies under the second round of DOE's Small Business Vouchers (SBV) pilot.

"The Small Business Vouchers Pilot focuses on attracting small and mid-size businesses that can leverage the world-class capabilities of the national laboratories and bring their clean energy technologies to the marketplace," NREL Commercialization Program Manager Matt Ringer said. "Small businesses will get to access NREL's expertise and facilities to overcome research and commercialization challenges while NREL staff gain better insight into industry needs."

NREL is one of 12 national laboratories participating in this DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) pilot program. Today's 43 awards to businesses across the country total more than $8 million. The businesses selected will have access to unique capabilities in the DOE national laboratory system - including NREL. To overcome the technical challenges inherent in bringing innovations to market, individual SBV vouchers will be used to initiate collaborative research projects or to access technical assistance from the labs.

"We need to accelerate the pace of clean energy innovation to build a stronger economy and a brighter, cleaner future for our nation," Acting Assistant Secretary for EERE David Friedman said. "The Small Business Vouchers pilot breaks down barriers for some of our greatest entrepreneurial minds, allowing them to work with our national laboratories across sectors and industries to accelerate a clean energy revolution that's been underway since 2008."

Small businesses selected to work with NREL in round two include:

  • Avatar Sustainable Technologies (New York) - This company will work to develop a method to economically use waste from paper mills to sustainably produce biofuels and other biochemical products.
  • Garmor Inc. (Florida) - Garmor Inc. will utilize existing bipolar plate (BPP) technology to develop a BPP that will include composites that will be used to form microstructured surface features to improve BPP surface tension for water droplet control.
  • Hyperlight Energy (California) - This project will involve thermal modeling, assessment, and evaluation in support of thermal battery storage options for use in solar thermal/geothermal hybrid power plants.
  • Northwest Energy Innovations (Oregon) - This company will work with NREL to conduct full power tests of a 250kW Power Module prior to ocean testing of their commercial prototype.
  • NRGsim Inc. (Oregon) - This project will provide energy modeling and software services for modeling phase change for building envelopes.
  • Ocean Renewable Power Corporation (Maine) - This company will advance the system readiness of their turbine generator unit through generator and inverter testing and utilizing the lab equipment/hardware to develop a commercially ready product.
  • Oorja Fuel Cells (California) - This company will work with NREL to determine the efficacy and performance of membrane electrode assembly (MEA) at Oorja's direct methanol fuel cell(DMFC) operating conditions and compare the results with the commercially available MEA used in Oorja DMFC power system. 
  • Proton Energy Systems (Connecticut) -  This project will develop, design and validate a small-scale advanced power converter to provide a pathway for reduced capital cost and improved efficiency of Proton's M-series electrolyzer that offers a carbon-free source of hydrogen fuel or process gas.
  • Sylvatex, Inc. (California) - This company will work with the laboratory to develop high quality performance data on the Sylvatex MicroX product, providing data critical to further development and cost improvements.
  • UbiQD, LLC (New Mexico) - This project will involve the economic modeling and characterization of near-IR light emitting compounds to advance the company's disruptive nanotechnology window product.  

To see a full list of small businesses competitively-selected by DOE in the second round of the SBV pilot, please visit http://www.sbv.org. NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

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