Department of Energy (DOE) SBIR/STTR applicants: What you need to know

The DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs offer small businesses around $100 million annually to fund innovative energy R & D projects, including those related to lithium-ion batteries, flow batteries, data management, rare-earth metals mining, manufacturing, and recycling, membranes for electrochemical energy storage applications, geothermal energy, and more. They’re ideal for startups and other small businesses that don’t want to dilute their cap table through angel or venture investing, but that have promising technologies.

The SBIR/STTR program is designed to provide R & D funding for early-stage businesses, and that can be applied to basic research or to early manufacturing, with the overall goal of bootstrapping the small-business concern into a larger business concern by bringing innovative products to market. We’ve written extensively about what kinds of startups and small businesses should seek SBIRs, and, in addition to that, some academics have studied how 2009 ARPA-E SBIR/STTR grantees performed over time. As you’d expect from a portfolio of unknown grantees, many failed, but some succeed, and, from a macro perspective, the overall program has been a success.

We’ve written a variety of DOE SBIR/STTR and other similar R & D applications (most Federal agencies offer version of SBIR/STTR grants). Some of the many R & D projects we’ve worked on include:

* A project related to pure lithium extraction, which will allow for the creation of lithium metal at purity levels greater than 99.9%.

* A project for a company that sought to shift from a primarily fracking organization to a primarily geothermal energy organization (it turns out that the skills involved in the former can apply to the skills involved in the latter).

* A project for electrochemical separation of a variety of elements.

* A project for lower-cost, low-carbon concrete.

* An array of solar-power-related projects.

* A number of projects involving MIT materials science faculty as advisors, board members, or outright employees.

* A project for consortium developing new open source software to control particle accelerators around the world.

Call us at 800.540.8906, ext. 1, or email for a fast, free fee quote on any SBIR or other R & D grant proposal.

As energy infrastructure projects become more and more important, we’re likely to see additional federal funding from the Department of Energy, Department of Defense, and other Federal agencies. This will include a tsunami of energy-related RFPs as the recently passed $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill as it implemented in the coming months.