FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman recently announced $11 million in innovative research and technology grants of up to $150,000 have been awarded to nearly 70 small businesses nationwide. He also highlighted that over the past year, the Department of Energy (DOE) supported $8 billion in contracts to over 7,000 small businesses.

Poneman made the announcements during a tour of Arkansas Power Electronics International (APEI), a small business that received one of the Small Business Innovative Research grants of $150,000. APEI develops state-of-the-art technology in power storage systems for electric vehicles and other clean energy technologies.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, employing half of all workers in America and creating two out of every three new jobs in the U.S.,” said Poneman. “The grants and contracts announced today are just the latest step in the Energy Department’s efforts to support the critical role that small businesses are playing in creating jobs for American workers and expanding our country’s clean energy economy. These businesses are helping to reduce our dependence on imported oil and protect our air and water, while ensuring that the U.S. leads in the global clean energy race.”

DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research program is part of the Obama administration’s broader support for job-creating small businesses and startup companies nationwide. These grants to small businesses of up to $150,000 — totaling $11 million — 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 small businesses selected will then be eligible to compete for a second phase of the program for awards up to $1 million over two years.

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. Small businesses with HVAC/geothermal ties include Microstrain Inc., Williston, Vt.; Physical Optics Corp., Torrance, Calif.; Aqwest LLC, Larkspur, Colo.; Cool Energy Inc., Boulder, Colo.; and more.

Publication date: 7/2/2012