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ORNL collaborates with six small businesses on clean energy tech


OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Aug. 18, 2016—Six small companies will tap the expertise of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to move their manufacturing, fuel cell, geothermal and vehicle technologies closer to the marketplace.

The businesses are among 43 selected to participate in the second round of DOE’s Small Business Vouchers (SBV) pilot. With vouchers in hand, these businesses can better leverage the world-class capabilities of the department’s National Laboratory System and bring their next-generation clean energy technologies to the marketplace faster.

“We need to accelerate the pace of clean energy innovation to build stronger economy and a brighter, cleaner future for our nation,” said David Friedman, Acting Assistant Secretary for DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). “The Small Business Vouchers pilot breaks down barriers for some of our greatest entrepreneurial minds, allowing them to work with our national laboratories across sectors and industries to accelerate a clean energy revolution that’s been underway since 2008.”

The Department opened the first round of SBV, a Technology-to-Market Lab Impact pilot, in September 2015. In SBV’s first round, 33 small businesses received vouchers totaling $6.7 million. Today’s 43 awards total more than $8 million. 

SBV is a collaborative, national effort that provides small and mid-size businesses access to national laboratory resources. Following open calls for “Requests for Assistance,” businesses are competitively selected to work with a national lab to address their needs, and provided vouchers, worth up to $300,000 at a lab.

ORNL will collaborate on the following projects.

Anactisis, LLC, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will work with ORNL to develop and commercialize new polymer-based materials for the recovery and concentration of critical materials such as rare earths from geothermal brines.

American Fuel Cell, located in Rochester, New York, will work with ORNL to optimize deposition techniques for roll-to-roll direct coating of electrodes on anode and cathode gas diffusion media leading to improved quality and lower-cost manufacturing of various fuel cell applications.

FWD:Energy, Inc., located in Zanesville, Ohio, will work with ORNL and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory using its VersaWave™ system to optimize the process for producing economically viable carbon anodes for lithium-ion batteries made from recycled scrap tires.

Nano Elements Source, LLC, located in McDonald, Tennessee, will work with ORNL to further commercialize the production of low cost, cadmium free photoluminescent nanoparticles for applications in solid-state lighting.

Pinnacle Engines, located in San Carlos, California, will work with ORNL to develop opposed-piston variable compression ratio high-efficiency engine for use in light-duty transportation vehicles.

Saratoga Energy Research Partners, LLC, located in Berkeley, California, will work with ORNL to advance the development of an electrolysis process to manufacture low-cost high-performance graphite from carbon dioxide used in fast-charging lithium-ion batteries.

ORNL continues collaborations with nine small businesses selected in the first round of SBV. 

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. SBV is part of EERE’s Technology-to-Market program. ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for DOE’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit