DOE: 5 bioenergy businesses selected for round two of SBV pilot

By Erin Voegele | August 22, 2016

The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced 43 small businesses will participate in the second round of the Small Business Vouchers pilot, including five businesses in the bioenergy space. Together, the 43 awards are worth more than $8 million.

According to the DOE, selected businesses will be able to leverage the world-class capabilities of its national laboratories and bring their next generation clean energy technologies to the marketplace faster.

"We need to accelerate the pace of clean energy innovation to build stronger economy and a brighter, cleaner future for our nation" said David Friedman, acting assistant secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. "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 underway since 2008."

The DOE indicated the five bioenergy collaborations will focus on cleaner methods of producing biochemicals, including developing biodegradable substitutes for conventional, oil-based plastics, as well as developing more energy efficient and carbon-conserving methods of producing biofuels.

Selected companies in the bioenergy space include:

Avatar Sustainable Technologies: Syracuse, New York-based Avatar Sustainable Technologies will work with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to develop a method to economically use waste from paper mills to sustainably produce biofuels and other chemical products.

HelioBioSys: Woodside, California-based HelioBioSys will work with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory. The company uses photosynthetic cyanobacteria to produce a competitively priced sugar feedstock. The voucher will provide testing assistance, including an analysis of cyanobacteria growth in an outdoor cultivation system.

Mango Materials: Albany, California-based Mango Materials produces biodegradable biopolymers from methane gas that can substitute for conventional, oil-based plastics. The company will work with LBNL to optimize unit operations of downstream processing in large-scale systems.

Virent Inc.: Madison, Wisconsin-based Virent has developed a proprietary technology to catalytically convert biomass-derived feedstock into directly fungible fuels and chemicals at demonstration quantities. The company will work with Argonne National Laboratory to enable further development of the catalysts towards commercial deployment.

Zymochem: Emeryville, California-based Symochem will work with LBNL to validate its novel bioprocess scheme.

A full list of awardees is available on the SBV website.