Small businesses in the clean-energy sector again will have access to the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory resources with use of the DOE Small Business Vouchers Pilot. The voucher program will allow businesses to access expertise and technological resources that might not otherwise be available in order to bring innovative clean energy products to market.
The pilot is part of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's National Laboratory Impact Initiative portfolio, which supports the relationship between the EERE and the national laboratory enterprise and works to increase the industrial impact of DOE national labs on the U.S. clean energy sector.
Small businesses with little to no experience with DOE labs are encouraged to submit requests, as EERE hopes to increase the number of new small businesses participating in the pilot. The pilot started in fall 2015 and launched in second round of funding spring 2016. During the first two rounds, 76 small businesses from 25 states were awarded almost $15 million in vouchers.
Vouchers range from $50,000 to $300,000 per small business to be used to perform collaborative research or to access lab instrumentation or facilities. Businesses interested in SBV funding must be U.S.-based and U.S.-owned with no more than 500 full time employees worldwide.
A total of $12 million is available for vouchers in the third round, as well as the upcoming fourth round of funding. To check company eligibility or submit a request, visit SBV.org. The deadline to apply is Nov. 10, and selected companies must provide a 20 percent in-kind cost share for completing voucher work.