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Small Business Vouchers Further Clean Energy Technology

March 2016
Small Business Vouchers Further Clean Energy Technology
PNNL is teaming with Percheron Power to make the Archimedes turbine technology used in Europe, shown here, more feasible for use in the United States.

The Department of Energy (DOE) awarded PNNL and three small green energy businesses with small business vouchers to advance technology in the areas of hydropower, energy efficiency, and bio-based chemicals. PNNL received $625,000 for the first round of funding. PNNL is one of five national laboratories participating in the Small Business Vouchers Pilot, a program designed to accelerate the development of clean energy technology by pairing national laboratories with small clean energy firms around the nation. Assistant Secretary for DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency, David Danielson, said "these partnerships can help small businesses solve their most pressing technical challenges — and help bring clean energy technologies to commercialization much faster."

Winning Projects

Computers Make Better Hydro Turbines
PNNL engineer, Marshall Richmond and his team, will improve screw-shaped turbines made of composite materials using computer models. Canals and other small waterways in Europe already use the turbines, called Archimedes Hydrodynamic Screw turbines, to generate hydropower. However, the Kennewick, Washington-based company, Percheron Power, LLC, aims to make them more feasible for use in the U.S.

Advancing Algorithms for Energy-Efficient Buildings
Small and medium-sized commercial buildings can cut their power bills with the help of national lab-developed algorithms. These algorithms identify lighting, heating, and cooling systems that are not working as intended. PNNL engineer Michael Brambley and his team will help Lake Oswego, Oregon-based company NorthWrite make these algorithms commercial-ready.

Improving Plant-Based Chemical Production
Using plants, instead of petroleum, can reduce the cost and carbon footprint of synthetic rubbers, latex, and adhesives. Berkeley, California-based company Visolis, Inc. developed a new process using fermentation and catalysts to convert plant-derived sugars into isoprene. PNNL engineer Karthi Ramasamy and his team will scale up Visolis’s process and produce samples to ensure the process creates a quality chemical.

DOE awarded small business vouchers to 33 different small business-national laboratory partnerships; a total funding amount of nearly $6.7 million. For more information regarding the projects awarded Small Business Vouchers, see the DOE announcement.

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Energy and Environment

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