Last week Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet announced that six Colorado small businesses were selected to receive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grants of $150,000 by the Department of Energy for projects on power generation from geothermal heat, emissions reduction and increasing fuel efficiency.
The grants are part of $11 million in innovation grants announced today for nearly 70 small businesses across the country. The small businesses selected will be eligible to compete for a second phase of the program for awards up to $1 million over two years.
“These grants speak to the cutting-edge, innovative work being done here in Colorado.” Bennet said. “Our state has been on the leading edge of clean energy sector job creation, entrepreneurship, and innovation, areas that SBIR resources are targeted to support. I look forward to seeing these small companies continue to grow, thrive and drive Colorado’s economy.”
In January, Bennet wrote a letter to the Small Business Administration relaying concerns from Colorado small business owners and asking for quick responses on SBIR grant applications. Improving the timeliness of the SBIR grant process is one of many policy recommendations presented to Senator Bennet as part of “Colorado Competes,” a report prepared by Coloradans for an Innovation Economy that provides a framework designed to make Colorado a place where innovators and entrepreneurs can thrive.
According to the Department of Energy, Colorado businesses selected for the SBIR grants were:
Aqwest LLC in Larkspur received $150,000
Project Title: Magnetocaloric Generator for Geothermal Heat Energy Recovery
This project will develop and demonstrate an innovative magnetocaloric generator for production of electric power from geothermal heat at high thermodynamic efficiency. The project will help reduce dependence on fossil fuels as well as the cost of electric power and GHG emissions.
Cool Energy Inc. in Boulder received $150,000
Project Title: Low-Temperature Stirling Engine for Geothermal Electricity Generation
A novel power system will be designed for geothermal wells and oil and gas wells. If widely deployed, this approach could replace up to 100 fossil fuel power plants.
Ion Engineering LLC in Boulder received $150,000
Project Title: Carbon Capture Process Simplifications and Performance Improvements Using Novel Polymer Membranes for the Facilitated Transport of CO2
The use of advanced polymer membranes for CO2 capture at power plants can provide an economical and energy efficient means of drastically reducing emissions while continuing to utilize conventional fuel sources for electric power generation. This project will develop materials that can achieve this goal and accelerate the utilization of inexpensive clean energy.
Sporian Microsystems Inc. in Lafayette received $300,000 in grants for two projects
Project Title: Advanced High Temperature Control Rod Position Sensor for Nuclear Power Systems
A novel high temperature ceramic sensor is proposed to help ensure safe operation of existing and future nuclear power plants and nuclear power systems.
Project Title: Advanced Ceramic Materials and Packaging Technologies For Sensors Operable 1800C in Advanced Energy Generation Systems
This project will develop a novel technology based on advanced high temperature materials to support the implementation of new sensor technologies that can increase the fuel efficiency of fossil fuel energy generation systems.
Symbios Technologies LLC in Fort Collins received $150,000
Project Title: Improved Cellulosic Biorefinery Economics via a Novel Catalytic Membrane Reactor for Biomass Hydrolysis
This project will develop, validate and commercialize a proprietary membrane-reactor technology that, for the first time, could enable cost-competitive production of sugars from cellulosic biomass feedstocks for making cellulosic ethanol and related biofuels and other high-value bioproducts allowing the U.S. to meet federal mandates/goals for alternative fuels production.
Tda Research Inc. in Wheat Ridge received $450,000 in grants for three projects
Project Title: Warm Gas Multi-contaminant Removal System
The use environmentally responsible coal-based processes is hindered by the presence of a wide spectrum contaminants present in coal. This project will develop a clean-up technology to remove these contaminants in a cost-effective way to support the widespread utilization of coal in environmentally responsible power generation and production of transportation fuels.
Project Title: High Performance Activated Carbons for Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Hybrid Electric Vehicles
This project will develop high performance carbon additives for the lead-acid batteries used in start/stop HEVs. Start/stop HEVs get 5 – 8% higher gas mileage than conventional cars with additional cost less than $1000.
Project Title: Enhanced Fischer-Tropsch Catalysts for Conversion of Biomass and Coal to Transportation Fuels
The liquid fuels produced by FT synthesis using coal-derived syngas can provide an immediately viable alternative to crude oil required to help provide energy independence to the U.S. TDA’s new catalyst offers several key benefits that can increase the cost-effectiveness of the FT process.
The Energy Department’s SBIR program supports job-creating small businesses and startup companies nationwide. These grants to small businesses of up to $150,000 are developing new energy technologies that will help to grow America’s economy, create new jobs around the country and improve American competitiveness around the world. The 67 small businesses will work on 75 innovative research projects ranging from designing better wind turbines to fuel cell technology to coal energy research.