A $20 million Small Business Voucher pilot program has been launched by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE).
This program is designed to help small businesses bring next-generation clean energy technologies, including hydropower, to the market faster by enabling them to access expertise and specialized equipment at DOE’s national laboratories.
Vouchers are available in nine technology areas. Through this program, about $2.2 million is available for water power vouchers, which includes traditional hydropower and marine and hydrokinetic technology. In addition, up to $4.4 million is available for advanced manufacturing, with a goal of “making our factories smarter, cleaner and better through next generation materials.”
More than 100 small businesses selected through the 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.
To be eligible, a business must be a for-profit enterprise with no more than 500 full-time-equivalent employees worldwide and be U.S. based and U.S. owned. Among other considerations, eligible companies must commit to a 20% cost share, which can be in-kind.
There will be up to three open calls for businesses to request assistance through the program. Once a business is approved, it cannot request a second voucher. However, businesses that were not chosen for assistance in one call can request it again during the remaining calls.
The Round 1 request period closes Oct. 23. Companies will be notified if they have been selected or rejected in December.