The U.S. Department of Energy is offering vouchers of $50,000 to $300,000 that will let small clean tech innovators obtain help from federal energy research labs.
The $20 million federal initiative is designed to help small businesses that are developing clean energy tech for advanced manufacturing, buildings, vehicles, wind, water, bioenergy, fuel cells, geothermal and solar.
Five national energy laboratories will provide vouchers to more than 100 small clean tech innovators, so they can access the labs’ expertise and tools to test, validate, and introduce new products, expand their businesses, and grow the clean energy sector.
The labs also will help the businesses with outreach, merit review coordination and match making between businesses and experts throughout the national laboratory network, according to the DOE.
Set to begin later this summer, the program will be lead Oak Ridge National Laboratory ($5.6 million), National Renewable Energy Laboratory ($4.9 million), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory ($4.2 million), Sandia National Laboratories ($2.8 million), and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory ($2.7 million).
The Department of Energy program is part of the Lab Impact Initiative, designed to aid small businesses in bringing next-generation clean energy tech to the market faster through federal energy lab assistance.
The companies can use the vouchers for collaborative research projects or technical assistance. Competition for the federal assistance will take place in three cycles in 2015 and 2016.
Later this summer, the DOE will go live with a web-based tool to exchange information between the labs and small businesses: the Small Business Central Assistance Platform. Small clean tech innovators will be able to apply for the vouchers on the platform, which also will provide information about the labs.
Small clean tech innovators that are interested in applying for a voucher may reach participating labs through the Lab Impact Initiative: [email protected]. More details are available here in a blog by David Danielson, assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy at DOE.
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