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Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy System Technology Research and Development


The SBIR program, as established by law, is intended to meet the following goals:

  • stimulate technological innovation in the private sector;
  • strengthen the role of small business in meeting Federal research or research and development (R/R&D) needs;
  • increase the commercial application of Federally-supported research results;
  • foster and encourage participation by socially and economically disadvantaged small business concerns and women-owned business concerns in the SBIR program; and
  • improve the return on investment from Federally-funded research for economic and social benefits to the Nation.

The SBIR program is structured in three phases, the first two of which are supported using SBIR funds. The objective of Phase I is to establish the technical/scientific merit and feasibility of the proposed R/R&D efforts. The objective of Phase II is to continue the research or R&D efforts initiated in Phase I. An objective of the SBIR program is to increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal R/R&D. The objective of Phase III, where appropriate, is for the SBC to pursue with non-SBIR funds (either Federal or non-Federal) the commercialization objectives resulting from the results of the R/R&D funded in Phases I and II. In some Federal agencies, Phase III may involve follow-on, non-SBIR funded R&D, or production contracts for products or processes intended for use by the U.S. Government.

On December 19, 2007, President George W. Bush signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (Act), P.L. 110-140. This Act requires SBIR/STTR agencies, whenever possible and appropriate, to give high priority within the SBIR and STTR programs to energy efficiency or renewable energy system R&D projects. As part of the implementation of this Act, this FOA encourages eligible United States SBCs whose biomedical research is related to energy efficiency or renewable energy systems, to submit SBIR Phase I, Phase II, and Fast-Track grant applications for R&D projects in those areas.

The NIH encourages research related to energy efficiency or renewable energy system R&D projects and the implementation of such new technologies in medical care.

Because energy efficiency and renewable energy system R&D is extremely broad in scope, the following examples of research topics may be of interest but are not meant to be exhaustive. In order to facilitate the rapid commercialization of the technology, especially for use by U.S. manufacturers, applicants are strongly encouraged to engage in partnerships, so that the costs of the technology development and commercialization can be shared among manufacturers, suppliers, and end users.

  • Technologies to optimize battery usage and/or energy consumption by medical devices (e.g., hearing aids, dental hand-pieces, chairs, lights), imaging technology (e.g., dental X-ray technology, magnetic resonance imaging systems), radiation therapy equipment (e.g., accelerators for proton radiotherapy), or chair/bed-side information technology (computers and displays).
  • Technologies to optimize energy consumption during production and delivery of medical radioisotopes and radiopharmaceuticals.
  • Development of batteries with increased storage capacity and/or increased number of charge/discharge cycles.
  • Technologies to optimize large bioreactor technologies in pharmaceutical production
  • Patient monitoring technology that decreases transportation to medical facilities.
  • Remote diagnostics and medical care.
  • Human biologicals produced in plants (e.g. human monoclonal antibodies)
  • Improved technology for energy production based on of microbial and/or plant cell activity
  • Instrumentation for monitoring growth of biofilms and anaerobic bacteria
  • Instrumentation for dynamical analysis of lignocellulose processing
  • Dueterated macromolecule resources
  • Technology development for manufacture of medical device power sources, such as increased energy density, increased number of charge/discharge cycles before battery failure, solar cells, kinetic to electrical current conversion, and fuel cells.
  • Circulatory support systems: Implantable rechargeable batteries and alternate power sources and transcutaneous energy transmission systems
  • Compact Implantable Defibrillators
  • Respiratory support systems (e.g., artificial lungs, ventilators, CPAP machines): Implantable rechargeable batteries and alternate power sources
  • Increased capacity oxygen concentrator systems
  • More portable oxygen delivery systems with alternative energy sources
  • Robotics and computer assisted surgery
  • Mathematical and computer modeling of biological systems
  • Information systems to coordinate patient management
  • Bioinformatics and interactive databases
  • Alternative energy efficient separation techniques including membranes, adsorption, and alternatives to distillation.
  • Bioenergy technologies, including, biomass conversion biorefinery innovation and integration, novel methods such as novel marine, plant, algal and microbial bioenergy sources, hydrogen production and methods for distributed bioenergy production.
  • Metabolic engineering for production of co-products into biomass crops of interests
  • Innovative methods to improve cell culture technology (e.g., more effective fermentation process development)
  • Genomics and proteomic characterization to understand efficiency of biofuel synthesis
  • Carbohydrate research for improved production of biofuels, including cellulosic ethanol
  • Enzyme technology
  • Recombinant DNA technology
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Robust, sterilizable, on-line sensor or imaging technologies to quantify raw material usage and metabolites in industrial cell and tissue culture reactors
  • High throughput screening tools for optimizing and modeling the manufacturing conditions of biopharmaceuticals and tissue engineered products
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