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DOE announces R&D funds to take promising renewable energy technologies to market

The US Energy Department is awarding new funding to the tune of $102 million to 104 small businesses in a bid to help advance cutting-edge clean energy innovations, the country’s Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced.

The grants - funded through the Energy Department’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programmes -- will support businesses in 26 states for what is considered Phase II work. In Phase II, companies will build on the conceptual work undertaken in Phase I and continue to develop “promising technologies with a strong potential for commercialization and job creation”.

The Phase II awards are up to $1 million for work over two years (Phase I included grants of up to $150,000).  Companies to secure the next stage funding include Xunlight 26 Solar, based in Toledo. It hopes to lower the cost of photovoltaics by making 1'x4' prototype flexible see-through solar modules using carbon nanotubes and ultrathin semiconductor layers.

In the field of wind power, Conispire, based in Boston, is working on the development of on-site conical spiral welders for large turbine towers. The technology allows large wind turbine towers to be produced on-site, eliminating the transportation constraints that currently hold back the wind industry.

Meantime, Aerodyne Research will move forward with its work on the production of bioenergy and biofuels from cellulosic and non-food biomass using a method of catalytic fast pyrolysis.    

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Bioenergy  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity  •  Wind power