DOE Announces Funding for Small Businesses and Technology Commercialization Projects

Marine Sciences Laboratory RFI due 7/31 View in browser
ENERGY.GOV - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Wind Energy Technologies Office

July 22, 2019

EERE Helps American Small Businesses with $43.6 Million for Phase II Innovation Projects

American small businesses got a nearly a $44 million boost from the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. As part of last Monday’s announcement, small businesses are receiving Phase II Release 2 grants that demonstrate commercial feasibility for innovations during the second phase of their research. Phase II awards range from $975,000 to $1,150,000 with a duration of two years.

The three selected wind energy projects are:

  • Aquanis Inc. of East Greenwich, RI is developing a new blade coating that will reduce damage to wind turbine blades caused by lightning by promoting the formation of ionization channels over the surface of the turbine blades. Every year, the global wind industry loses an estimated $100M or more to damage caused by lightning.
  • Boulder Environmental Sciences &Technology, LLC of Boulder, CO is developing a profiling microwave radiometer to provide accurate assessments of atmospheric stability for offshore wind plants. The system will measure temperature, humidity, and water vapor paths, providing data to improve weather forecasts and provide advance warning about thunderstorms and icing conditions.
  • Helios Remote Sensing Systems, Inc. of Rome, NY will develop, test, and validate a low-cost, low power marine atmospheric boundary layer measurement system that can serve as a core element of a buoy-based data collection network for the offshore renewable energy industry. The system will measure wind speed and direction up to 300 meters above the ocean, providing data that are important for offshore wind and for weather modeling.

Marine Sciences Laboratory Request for Information

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) is seeking feedback from the renewable energy industry, academia, national laboratories, government agencies, and private entities about the use of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s (PNNL) Marine Sciences Laboratory (MSL) as a research, development, testing, and validation venue.

This RFI addresses the growing interest in the use of MSL facilities for renewable energy, maritime markets—as part of WPTO’s Powering the Blue Economy Initiative—and energy storage research, technology development, and testing.

Results of this RFI may be used to help DOE and PNNL prioritize MSL resources and investments. Stakeholder feedback is due by 5pm EST on July 31, 2019.

Department of Energy Announces 2019 Technology Commercialization Fund Projects

On June 25, the U.S. Department of Energy announced over $24 million in funding for 77 projects supported by the Office of Technology Transitions Technology Commercialization Fund. With matching funds from the private sector, three projects will advance the commercialization of promising energy technologies and strengthen partnerships between DOE’s National Laboratories and private sector companies to deploy these technologies to the marketplace.

Three projects at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are related to wind energy:

  • Enabling Autonomous Wind Plants through Consensus Control
    • RES Group, Broomfield, Colorado
  • Fusion Joining of Thermoplastic Composites Using Energy Efficient Processes
    • GE Global Research, U.S., Niskayuna, New York
  • Wind Turbine Drivetrain Reliability Assessment and Remaining Useful Life Prediction
    • WindESCo, Boston, Massachusetts.

The Competition that Creates Careers in Wind Energy

University of Wisconsin–Madison graduate Joe Brunner is going to work for Invenergy after his senior year and, like students before him, he credits his participation in DOE’s Collegiate Wind Competition (CWC) and internship experience for helping him land the job.

Competition experience coupled with on the job training gave Brunner an advantage over other engineers applying for the position. Learn more about Brunner’s success and how CWC helps prepare students as professionals.

In Case You Missed It

National Offshore Wind R&D Consortium Request for Proposals (RFP)

Offshore wind turbines

The National Offshore Wind R&D Consortium, established by DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO), has announced the availability of funding for additional offshore wind R&D topics. The consortium is still accepting applications for offshore wind plant technology advancement R&D funding, which was announced in March 2019. Topics include: 

  • Offshore wind plant technology advancement, which includes optimizing the performance of wind plants; reducing the costs of turbine support structures (e.g., foundations); developing innovative mooring and anchoring technologies for floating wind; and reducing the cost and risk associated with the transmission and distribution of electricity from offshore wind
  • Offshore wind power resource and physical site characterization, which includes comprehensive wind resource assessment and the development of a metocean reference site
  • Installation, operations & maintenance, and supply chain, which includes heavy lift vessel alternatives; offshore wind digitization through advanced analytics; and technology solutions to accelerate the U.S. supply chain.

EERE Helps American Small Businesses with $21.8 Million for Phase I Innovation Projects

American small businesses got a nearly $22 million boost from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. These small businesses will receive Phase I Release 2 grants that demonstrate technical feasibility for innovations during the first phase of their research.

Two wind energy projects were selected for grants:

  • Carbon Rivers LLC, of Knoxville, TN, will research an innovative, energy-saving process to repurpose waste from end-of-life wind turbine blades
  • Qualtech Systems, Inc., of Rocky Hill, CT, will develop a system that allows operators of offshore wind plants to monitor their turbines and diagnose problems remotely, which will reduce unplanned downtime and support more efficient operations and maintenance.

NREL Releases Tall Wind Report

NREL released a report looking at the challenges and opportunities associated with taller wind towers of up to 160 meters. The report finds that increasing tower height to 110 meters from current levels could unlock cost reductions nationwide, and that further tower height increases to 140 meters could help open up markets in low-wind regions such as the southeast.

The report also explores a number of potential opportunities to overcome logistical barriers associated with the transport of tall tower components and reduce costs to enable deployment of turbines at these higher hub heights.

College Students Give Back

Two college students look on as a child shows off a wind turbine design.

The DOE Collegiate Wind Competition (CWC) is an incredible learning opportunity for its college-age participants. Students not only get the chance to design, develop, and test their own wind turbines, but they also connect with industry and potential future employers.

As the students look forward to their own futures in the wind and renewable energy industry, many also take the opportunity to look—and give—back. Learn more about how CWC participants support the KidWind Challenge and the young students interested in wind energy each year.

Wind R&D Newsletter

On May 20, DOE released the Spring 2019 edition of its biannual Wind Research and Development (R&D) Newsletter, which provides recent news about the office’s R&D projects, accomplishments, upcoming events, and recent publications.

You can read about the potential of longer blades and taller towers, how the first field trials of wind energy controls demonstrate the possibilities for increased power production and revenue, how WETO-funded research is helping to safeguard bat populations, and more.

If you didn’t get the email on 5/20, subscribe here!


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