DOE voucher program benefits conventional hydro, ocean energy companies

DOE Small Business Voucher Program

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced that 43 small businesses will participate in its second round of the Small Business Vouchers pilot program, including several with ties to the conventional hydroelectric power and marine hydrokinetic sectors.

The SBV program is intended to "accelerate the pace of clean energy innovation to build a stronger economy and a brighter, cleaner future for our nation," according to David Friedman, Acting Assistant Secretary for DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

The most recent round of vouchers total more than $8 million, adding to $6.7 million awarded to 33 businesses in 2015.

Hydro-related companies receiving vouchers are:

  • Whooshh Innovations (Bellevue, Wash.) -- The Whooshh fish transport system uses localized pressure differentials to push fish through a soft, flexible tube to move fish over dams. The group will work with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to validate it as an alternative to traditional fish passage methods so it can be re-categorized from "experimental".
  • Oscilla Power (Seattle) -- Oscilla Power will work with Sandia National Laboratories to model and analyze the distribution of forces and wear in a key component of its Triton Wave Energy Converter.
  • Northwest Energy Innovations (Portland, Ore.) -- Northwest Energy will work with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to conduct full-power tests of a 250 kW power module before beginning ocean testing in a commercial prototype.
  • Ocean Renewable Power Corporation (Portland, Maine) -- Ocean Renewable Power Corporation will also work with NREL to advance the commercialization of a tidal turbine generator unit.

"The Small Business Vouchers pilot breaks down barriers for some of our greatest entrepreneurial minds, allowing them to work with our national laboratories across sectors and industries to accelerate a clean energy revolution that's been under way since 2008," Friedman said.

Other sectors covered by the program include bioenergy, fuel cells, geothermal, solar, vehicles and wind.

DOE will release updates about the third and final round of the SBV program in October. For more information, visit the department's website here.

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