Small businesses are the backbone of our nation’s economy. Unfortunately the recent financial crisis has left many small businesses struggling as funding sources were frozen. The federal government is committed to supporting the nation’s small business owners and the DOE is doing its part with a $188 million series of awards to small businesses in 34 states. The money will help spur clean energy innovation, job creation and more.

The money was awarded through the DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) and the DOE’s Small Business Technology Transfer program (STTR). A total of 201 awards in 76 different categories were given to business owners across the country. These small businesses are working on projects in a variety of clean energy categories including smart grid controllers, advanced solar technologies, hybrid-vehicle related technologies and even algal fuel production.

The SBIR and STTR grant program has numerous success stories including A123 Systems. The company is a previous funding recipient and is now one of the leading manufacturers of lithium-ion batteries. The company’s growth, due in part to the funding from the DOE, has allowed A123 to expand its Michigan operations.

The businesses named in this latest round of funding may just be researching the next big breakthrough in clean energy and green job creation in the United States. While supporting small businesses is beneficial to the business owner and employees, it is also beneficial to the entire nation. These innovative ideas will help in the nation’s economic recovery as well as keep us on the path to a clean energy economy.

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