The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced Thursday (May 21) it will give $53 million to 211 small businesses in 35 states and the District of Columbia, including a $206,494 grant for a nuclear energy project in Arkansas.
Fayetteville-based electronics manufacturer Ozark Integrated Circuits is assigned to the Arkansas project. It regards high-temperature electronics for real-time, in-line impurity monitoring for Flibe-cooled reactors. Flibe refers to a liquid salt solution.
Ozark IC has reported breakthroughs in manufacturing and shown that data acquisition modules can operate in high-temperature environments such as the surface of Venus, in hot geological formations, in hypersonic vehicles and jet engines. The company will apply this capability to the advancement of molten salt reactor research and development.
The money comes from the DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, and the awards are for phase I research and development.
“A cornerstone of the American economy, small businesses play a major role in spurring innovation and creating jobs throughout the country,” said Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. “Now more than ever, we want to lend support to our country’s small businesses to ensure they are thriving again soon.”
The phase I grants will allow small businesses to research the feasibility of innovations that advance the mission of the Department of Energy. Phase I grants are for six to 12 months and have a median award amount of $200,000.
Successful phase I grantees will be eligible to apply for phase II awards in fiscal year 2021 that will allow them to develop prototypes or processes to validate their phase I research. Phase II grants have a median award amount of $1.1 million and a duration of up to two years.