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News Release: Small Businesses Invited to Participate in DOE National Lab Vouchers Pilot

September 23, 2015

Small businesses in the clean energy sector are invited to apply for assistance from the Energy Department's national laboratories through the department's new Small Business Vouchers Pilot (SBV).

David Danielson, DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), announced the launch of the pilot website during EERE's Industry Day event at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. 

"Small businesses that are developing the new clean energy technologies that are needed to cut carbon pollution and create good-paying American jobs often lack the resources necessary to move their innovative ideas from the laboratory bench to the marketplace," Danielson said. "The EERE Small Business Vouchers pilot is designed specifically to help small businesses bring next-generation clean energy technologies to the market faster by leveraging the world-class capabilities of our national laboratories to solve small businesses' most pressing challenges."

As part of EERE's National Laboratory Impact Initiative, the pilot aims to help small businesses bring next-generation clean energy technologies to the market faster by enabling them to access expertise and specialized equipment at five of DOE's national labs.

The $20 million pilot will match clean energy small businesses with experts from DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.

More than 100 small businesses selected through the pilot's merit review process will receive $50,000 to $300,000 vouchers to exchange for national lab technical assistance or initiate collaborative research projects. The assistance will focus on a specific technical challenge identified by the small business.

NREL is working with the four other national laboratories to coordinate the pilot voucher program across DOE's network of laboratories. NREL is taking a leading role in coordinating vouchers in bioenergy, fuel cells and water power technologies, but NREL is eligible to receive vouchers across the wide range of technology areas in which EERE invests. Visit NREL's SBV website for more information.

"This is a first-of-its-kind partnership between the DOE, its network of national laboratories, and small businesses, which will result in a win-win situation," NREL SBV Pilot Program Manager Sarah Truitt 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."

The pilot focuses on assisting small businesses developing technologies in the following areas: advanced manufacturing, buildings, vehicles, wind, water power, bioenergy, fuel cells, geothermal and solar. To be eligible to apply, businesses must be U.S.-based and -owned with no more than 500 full-time employees worldwide. A total of three cycles of competitions will be offered to interested small businesses in 2015 and 2016.

Businesses are invited to apply at

SBV contacts:

  •  Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory - Jodi Bellacicco,
  •  National Renewable Energy Laboratory - Sarah Truitt,
  •  Oak Ridge National Laboratory - Jennifer Palmer,
  •  Pacific Northwest National Laboratory - Gary Spanner,
  • Sandia National Laboratories - David Kistin,

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.


Visit NREL online at

—Heather Lammers