Public Release: 

New pilot helps small businesses tap ORNL expertise

DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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IMAGE: Small businesses can gain access to ORNL resources such as the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility through a new Department of Energy voucher pilot. view more

Credit: ORNL

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. July 16, 2015--Small companies in the advanced manufacturing, transportation and building sectors have a new opportunity to partner with the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

ORNL was among five national laboratories selected to participate in a new DOE small business voucher pilot that aims to connect small clean energy businesses with technical experts and world-class facilities at the national labs.

DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is funding the $20 million pilot as part of its National Laboratory Impact Initiative. ORNL will receive $5.6 million to conduct outreach, merit review, and matchmaking efforts for small business projects.

"We're pleased to be given the opportunity to partner with smaller businesses who can take advantage of the world-class facilities at ORNL and other national laboratories across the country," said ORNL's Johney Green. "Through this pilot, we will help industry achieve their goals of developing innovative, energy-efficient products and being more competitive in the marketplace, particularly in manufacturing, building, and vehicle technologies."

Industrial collaboration has long been a focus for ORNL, which has worked with hundreds of large and small companies in recent decades. The new pilot will expand the lab's ability to make an impact in the private sector by helping small businesses develop, validate and improve their technologies.

Companies will have access to unique equipment and expertise at ORNL facilities such as the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, National Transportation Research Center, and Building Technologies Research & Integration Center as part of the pilot.

More details on the pilot:

  • Later this summer, DOE will launch the Small Business Central Assistance Platform, a web-based tool that will be used to exchange information between the labs and small businesses.

  • This Platform will be used to market the labs' core capabilities in the topic areas of interest and will be used to accept applications from small businesses that want to participate in the pilot.

  • Individual vouchers will range from $50,000 to $300,000 per clean energy small business and can be used to initiate collaborative research projects or to access technical assistance with labs.

  • Three cycles of competitions will be offered to interested small businesses in 2015 and 2016.

Interested companies can learn more about the pilot here: http://www.energy.gov/eere/lab-impact/downloads/small-business-vouchers-documents-0. The application process will begin in early fall.

The pilot is sponsored by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy's Office of Science.

DOE's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

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Image: http://www.ornl.gov/Image%20Library/Main%20Nav/ORNL/News/News%20Releases/2015/MDF_SBV_HR.jpg

Caption: Small businesses can gain access to ORNL resources such as the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility through a new Department of Energy voucher pilot.

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