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New Topics for Small Business Research and Development Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) recently announced 12 topic areas for new Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) / Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) projects. Successful Phase I projects will receive grants of up to $200,000 to explore the feasibility of innovative concepts over a period of up to a year.


As a part of this opportunity, EERE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) will provide approximately $4 million for projects in five topic areas for energy-related advanced manufacturing technologies and practices that will drive U.S. energy productivity and economic competitiveness.


On November 17, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. ET, DOE will hold a webinar on EERE topics where technical topic managers will present additional information and attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions. Visit the DOE SBIR website to register. Once registered, a recording and transcript of the webinar will be made available for those who are not able to attend.


AMO is seeking projects in the following areas. For full topic descriptions and contact information for questions, visit the DOE’s SBIR website.

  • Topic 9: Advanced Manufacturing

Subtopic 9a: Innovation Research in Semiconductor Chip Design for Edge Computing in Manufacturing

This subtopic solicits feasibility research in new application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chip designs that will enable Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications in edge computing. This subtopic reflects DOE’s support for AI, 5G, and Advanced Wireless Technologies as part of its focus on enabling Industries of the Future.


Subtopic 9b: Novel Manufacturing Methods for Membranes and Desalination System Components

This subtopic seeks proposals for projects that could substantially reduce the time to market for new membranes critical for desalination of water. This subtopic supports the objectives of the Water Security Grand Challenge, a DOE-led framework to advance transformational technology and innovation to meet the global need for safe, secure, and affordable water.

  • Topic 20: Conductivity-enhanced materials for Affordable, Breakthrough Leapfrog Electric and Thermal Applications (CABLE) Materials and Applications

This six-office topic seeks projects that rely on breakthroughs in Conductivity-enhanced materials for Affordable, Breakthrough Leapfrog Electric and Thermal Applications (CABLE) that support 1) technology transfer for the fabrication of enhanced conductivity materials and 2) affordable leapfrog applications for the design and use of enhanced conductivity materials to make their performance improvements and energy savings more accessible.

AMO-led and co-led subtopics include:

  • 20a: Technology Transfer Opportunity: Metal-carbon Composition and Composites Manufacturing

  • 20b: Electricity Delivery System Applications

  • 20e: Electric Systems—Generators and Motors

  • 20h: Enhanced Conductivity EV Charging Cables and Couplers

  • Topic 11: Polymers Upcycling and Recycling

Subtopic 11a: Improving Plastics Compatibilization for More Efficient Recycling This subtopic seeks proposals to develop new compatibilizers – materials or molecules that allow different types of plastics to be mixed – that may enable processing of plastic resins and the downstream recycling or upcycling of a mixed plastic stream.


This topic is co-led by AMO and the Bioenergy Technologies Office and supports the objectives of the Plastics Innovation Challenge to accelerate innovations that will dramatically reduce plastic waste in oceans and landfills and position the U.S as global leaders in advanced plastics recycling technologies and in the manufacture of new plastics that are recyclable by design.

  • Topic 13: Advanced Building Construction Technologies

This topic seeks proposals that integrate energy-efficiency solutions into highly productive U.S. construction practices for new buildings and retrofits. Sponsored jointly by the Building Technologies Office (BTO) and AMO, this joint topic brings together BTO’s work on buildings technologies with AMO’s manufacturing materials, processes, and product focus.


DOE will release the full Funding Opportunity Announcement for these topics on December 14, 2020. Letters of Intent will be due on Monday, January 4, 2021. To view the full schedule and learn more, visit the DOE SBIR website

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