From Department of Energy (US)-DOE Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (US) : “U.S. Department of Energy Awards $127 Million to Bring Innovative Clean Energy Technologies to Market”

From Department of Energy (US)

July 23, 2021

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More than $57 million will be awarded to American small businesses and entrepreneurs. Photo courtesy of National Renewable Energy Laboratory (US).

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy and Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will award $57 million to 53 projects by 51 American small businesses and entrepreneurs with phase II funding based on the initial success of their phase I awards. This includes follow-on awards to support projects closer to market.

Through DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, the phase II awards support the research and development of innovative clean energy technologies toward commercialization. EERE phase II awards are awarded for a two-year project duration, with initial funding up to $1.1 million, and two potential follow-on awards of up to $1.1 million each.

The six projects funded through the DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office are:

Near Infrared Biomass Probe and Deployment Methods for Real-time, Field-based, Biomass Quality Measurement by ANTARES Group Inc. in Edgewater, MD: This project will help further develop a novel way to identify and measure the quality of biomass. This new probe will provide more rapid assessment of biomass quality than traditional testing, thereby guiding real-time decisions on the need for additional quality improvements to produce conversion-ready feedstocks.

Conversion of Biogas to Liquid Fuels on Superior Catalysts by NexTech Materials, Ltd. Dba Nexceris, LLC in Lewis Center, OH: New CO2 reduction processes are required to efficiently convert biogas, biomass and stored CO2 to usable fuels. The Nexceris/WSU/Tonkomo team is developing a system to convert bio-methane and carbon dioxide into diesel fuel, jet fuel, and Fischer-Tropsch wax a valuable feedstock for chemicals, lubricants, and fuels production.

Removing Ammonia Contamination from Biogas Feedstock by Pancopia, Inc. in Hampton, VA: Ammonia emissions from swine farms decrease swine productivity, harm the health of surrounding communities, significantly increase pollution, and threaten the production of biogas. This project will develop low-cost, reliable treatment technology to eliminate 90% of ammonia emissions from farms thus resolving these pressing issues which are preventing the implementation of biogas projects.

Biorecovery of Nutrients from Municipal Wastewaters with Co-production of Biofuels and other Bioproducts by MicroBio Engineering in San Luis Obispo, CA: Development of technology is needed to remove phosphorus from wastewater at low-cost to very low levels to fight environmental pollution triggering harmful algal blooms. This project will reduce phosphorus contents to essentially zero level by applying conditioned filamentous algae in controlled systems allowing removal in secondary or tertiary wastewater within hours.

Advancing Optical Imaging and Classification to Enhance Biodiversity Monitoring by OceanSpace, LLC in St. Petersburg, FL: Biofuel production requires cost reduction coupled with enhanced benefits, and an important potential benefit is reduction in impacts to biodiversity. Evaluating biodiversity impacts requires a modern sampling technology that is practical and cost-effective, an excellent solution being a sensor system that is easy to use, cost-efficient, and enhances decision-making capabilities.

Upcycling Ocean-based Plastics for Sustainable Feedstock Supply Chain by RiKarbon, Inc. in Newark, DE: RiKarbon, Inc. is commercializing an enabling technology to produce low-cost waste plastic feedstock and waste plastic’s selective depolymerization to plastic’s building block chemicals for manufacturing renewable plastics. This project will mitigate health risks to ocean life and humans, improve the environment eco-system, promote future energy security and develop a circular economy.

Read more about the SBIR and SBTT programs, and read the full list of selected projects here.

See the full article here.

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The Department of Energy (US) is a cabinet-level department of the United States Government concerned with the United States’ policies regarding energy and safety in handling nuclear material. Its responsibilities include the nation’s nuclear weapons program; nuclear reactor production for the United States Navy; energy conservation; energy-related research; radioactive waste disposal; and domestic energy production. It also directs research in genomics. the Human Genome Project originated in a DOE initiative. DOE sponsors more research in the physical sciences than any other U.S. federal agency, the majority of which is conducted through its system of National Laboratories. The agency is led by the United States Secretary of Energy, and its headquarters are located in Southwest Washington, D.C., on Independence Avenue in the James V. Forrestal Building, named for James Forrestal, as well as in Germantown, Maryland.

Formation and consolidation

In 1942, during World War II, the United States started the Manhattan Project, a project to develop the atomic bomb, under the eye of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. After the war in 1946, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was created to control the future of the project. The Atomic Energy Act of 1946 also created the framework for the first National Laboratories. Among other nuclear projects, the AEC produced fabricated uranium fuel cores at locations such as Fernald Feed Materials Production Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1974, the AEC gave way to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which was tasked with regulating the nuclear power industry and the Energy Research and Development Administration, which was tasked to manage the nuclear weapon; naval reactor; and energy development programs.

The 1973 oil crisis called attention to the need to consolidate energy policy. On August 4, 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed into law The Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977 (Pub.L. 95–91, 91 Stat. 565, enacted August 4, 1977), which created the Department of Energy(US). The new agency, which began operations on October 1, 1977, consolidated the Federal Energy Administration; the Energy Research and Development Administration; the Federal Power Commission; and programs of various other agencies. Former Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger, who served under Presidents Nixon and Ford during the Vietnam War, was appointed as the first secretary.

President Carter created the Department of Energy with the goal of promoting energy conservation and developing alternative sources of energy. He wanted to not be dependent on foreign oil and reduce the use of fossil fuels. With international energy’s future uncertain for America, Carter acted quickly to have the department come into action the first year of his presidency. This was an extremely important issue of the time as the oil crisis was causing shortages and inflation. With the Three-Mile Island disaster, Carter was able to intervene with the help of the department. Carter made switches within the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in this case to fix the management and procedures. This was possible as nuclear energy and weapons are responsibility of the Department of Energy.

Recent

On March 28, 2017, a supervisor in the Office of International Climate and Clean Energy asked staff to avoid the phrases “climate change,” “emissions reduction,” or “Paris Agreement” in written memos, briefings or other written communication. A DOE spokesperson denied that phrases had been banned.

In a May 2019 press release concerning natural gas exports from a Texas facility, the DOE used the term ‘freedom gas’ to refer to natural gas. The phrase originated from a speech made by Secretary Rick Perry in Brussels earlier that month. Washington Governor Jay Inslee decried the term “a joke”.

Facilities

The Department of Energy operates a system of national laboratories and technical facilities for research and development, as follows:

Ames Laboratory
Argonne National Laboratory
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Idaho National Laboratory
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Los Alamos National Laboratory
National Energy Technology Laboratory
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Sandia National Laboratories
Savannah River National Laboratory
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

Other major DOE facilities include:
Albany Research Center
Bannister Federal Complex
Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory – focuses on the design and development of nuclear power for the U.S. Navy
Kansas City Plant
Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory – operates for Naval Reactors Program Research under the DOE (not a National Laboratory)
National Petroleum Technology Office
Nevada Test Site
New Brunswick Laboratory
Office of Fossil Energy
Office of River Protection
Pantex
Radiological and Environmental Sciences Laboratory
Y-12 National Security Complex
Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository
Other:

Pahute Mesa Airstrip – Nye County, Nevada, in supporting Nevada National Security Site