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As part of our ongoing research and analysis in critical emerging tech markets, this article presents some initial takeaways from Public Spend Forum’s analysis of the U.S. Government’s investments in Advanced Energy and Clean Tech technologies. The ultimate goal of our ongoing research is to improve the alignment of investments with priorities as well as tech that is showing promise/impact as well as provide emerging companies the visibility into potential product/market fit.

Analyzing Advanced Energy and Clean Technology Investments

According to our ongoing analysis of U.S. R&D investments, over the past two years, the U.S. government has invested more than $26 billion towards Advanced Energy and Clean Tech R&D investments and contracts. This surge in funding not only provides an opportunity for the government to accelerate the transition towards a cleaner and more energy-efficient future, it also presents a golden opportunity for innovative companies and startups to bring forth their innovations and make an impact.

To ensure the funding is aligned with key priorities and to gain visibility into what technologies are being invested in, Public Spend Forum’s research team, with a helping hand from AI-MI datasets and algorithms, has been analyzing top use cases for Advanced Energy and Clean Tech and related technologies. Our goal is to understand:

  • Which use cases are most prominent in Advanced Energy and Clean Tech?
  • Which technologies are being tested?
  • Which tech is having an impact and being (or could be) scaled/commercialized?

Examples of Government Funded Advanced Energy And Clean Tech Projects

For every market, one of our key goals is to understand most prominent use cases and needs being addressed and then identify the types of technologies that are being tested or commercialized.

For Advanced Energy and Clean Tech, we have found the U.S. government’s various R&D efforts are investing in several use cases six of which we detail below.

  1. Energy Storage
  2. Renewable Energy Development
  3. Electric Vehicle Infrastructure
  4. Smart Cities and Communities
  5. Power & Electricity Generation
  6. Environmental Monitoring

For each of these use cases, we have highlighted some of the tech we see being invested including examples of policies and companies/technologies.

1. Energy Storage

Energy storage is critical for many reasons including:

  • Managing Intermittent Renewable Sources: Clean energy sources like solar and wind are often intermittent, meaning they generate power inconsistently. Energy storage allows excess energy to be stored when production is high and released when production is low.
  • Grid Stability: Energy storage stabilizes the electrical grid by providing a buffer against fluctuations in supply and demand.
  • Peak Shaving: Energy storage can be used to “shave” the peaks of electricity demand. During times of high demand, stored energy can be discharged to meet the increased needs, thereby reducing the strain on power plants which often times use fossil fuels.
  • Energy Access: In remote areas or during emergencies, energy storage can provide a reliable source of power. This can ultimately enhance energy access and boost resilience, especially in areas with unreliable grid infrastructure.
  • Economic Benefits: Energy storage can help lower electricity costs by optimizing energy use, reducing the need for carbon-generating and expensive peaking power plants.
  • Environmental Benefits: By reducing the need for fossil fuel backup and optimizing energy use, energy storage systems contribute to lowering greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change.

Some examples of technologies being invested in include:

  • Capacitors: Capacitors play a valuable role in energy storage, especially in applications that require rapid and high-power energy discharge.
  • Fuel Cells: Fuel cells are a versatile technology with several applications, and while they are primarily known for their use in power generation, they can also play a role in energy storage, mainly through the conversion of electricity into chemical energy and vice versa.
  • Hydroelectric Storage: Hydroelectric storage, also known as pumped-storage hydroelectricity (PSH), is a versatile and well-established form of energy storage. It plays a crucial role in the energy landscape by providing a means to store excess electricity for later use.

Examples of R&D Awards and Initiatives:

Below are a few examples that are helping advance the goal of increasing energy storage:

  1. Over the past year, the U.S. government has developed several partnerships for Long Duration Energy Storage (LDES). “Long-duration energy storage represents an opportunity to fill critical gaps in the grid and serve as a foundational platform for clean energy to power our homes, businesses, and vehicles,” said Dr. Vanessa Z. Chan, the U.S. Department of Energy Chief Commercialization Officer, and Director of the Office of Technology Transitions.
  2. Aesir Technologies, Inc. received an SBIR Phase II award through the National Science Foundation. The project’s broader impact/commercial potential is the commercialization of an aqueous lithium and zinc ion battery as a replacement for lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries in stationary energy storage applications.
  3. Ohio University received a Grant through the Department of Energy for the utilization of carbon supply chain waste and byproducts to manufacture graphite for energy storage applications.

2. Renewable Energy Development

Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal power harness energy derived from natural sources to generate electricity. Renewable energy can be intermittent, depending on weather conditions and natural variability. However, renewable energy sources can be used as alternatives to generate electric power versus traditional fossil energy sources like coal.

Here are some of the technologies being used in Renewable energy use cases:

  • Photovoltaic Systems: Photovoltaic (PV) systems, commonly known as solar panels, are a key component of renewable energy development, playing a central role in harnessing solar energy to generate electricity.
  • Biopower Plants: Biopower plants, also known as biomass power plants, are essential components of renewable energy development. They utilize organic materials to generate electricity and heat.
  • Tidal Turbine Systems: Tidal turbine systems are a promising technology in the field of renewable energy development, particularly for harnessing the predictable and constant energy of ocean tides.

Examples of R&D Awards and Initiatives:

  1. Triton Systems, Inc. received an SBIR Phase II from the Department of Energy for LiDAR systems that are being used to understand site-specific physical and environmental responses to renewable energy development. This is critical to reducing the time and costs associated with planning, developing, and permitting renewable power projects.
  2. The Department of Energy announced $38 million to deploy clean energy technologiesin American Indian and Alaska Native Communities with a goal to lower energy costs, strengthen energy security, and improve grid resiliency for tribal communities.

3. Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure

EV infrastructure, including charging stations and networks, encourages the adoption of electric vehicles. This shift towards EVs reduces greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and reliance on fossil fuels, contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable transportation system. Electric vehicles are also highly efficient in converting electrical energy into motion. This system’s efficiency can be further leveraged by integrating smart charging infrastructure and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies.

Here are some of the technologies used in EV infrastructure:

  • Lithium-ion Batteries: Lithium-ion batteries play a pivotal role in electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure, supporting the widespread adoption and integration of electric vehicles into the transportation sector.
  • Thermal Systems: Thermal systems play a crucial role in electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure by managing the thermal conditions of the vehicle’s components and ensuring optimal performance, safety, and efficiency.
  • Power Generation Systems: Power generation systems are integral to electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure, serving various functions to support the charging and operation of electric vehicles.

Examples of R&D Awards and Initiatives:

  1. The Biden-Harris Administration announced measures to advance a Made-in-America electric vehicle (EV) charging network, supporting climate goals and job creation. The $7.5 billion investment in EV charging and $10 billion in clean transportation are key components of this strategy, attracting private investment.
  2. Marscharge, Inc. received an SBIR Phase I through the Department of Energy for innovative electric vehicle chargers that combine decentralized solar energy storage with three-tier charging capabilities
  3. Florida International Universityreceived a Grant through the National Science Foundation to study cyber resilience in energy systems. Working as a member of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Center for Infrastructure Trustworthiness in Energy Systems (CITES), their research will include electric vehicle infrastructure, securing energy systems, and enhancing communication for cyber-physical systems.

4. Smart Cities and Communities:

Smart Cities and Communities are at the forefront of advanced energy and clean technology adoption, playing a pivotal role in achieving sustainability and enhancing the quality of urban life. Smart cities employ advanced energy management systems and sensors to optimize energy consumption in buildings, street lighting, and transportation. They also promote electric mobility through EV charging infrastructure, electric public transportation, and policies that incentivize electric vehicle adoption.

Here are some of the technologies used in Smart Cities and Communities:

  • Smart Grid Technologies: Smart grid technologies are pivotal in the development and operation of smart cities and communities. They enable more efficient, resilient, and sustainable energy management while enhancing residents’ overall quality of life.
  • Smart Building Technologies: Smart building technologies play a pivotal role in developing smart cities and communities by improving energy efficiency, sustainability, and the overall quality of life.
  • Green Building Technologies: Green building technologies are essential components of smart cities and communities, contributing to sustainability, energy efficiency, and environmental responsibility.

Examples of R&D Awards and Initiatives:

  1. Foli Research LLC received an SBIR Phase II award through the National Science Foundation for focusing on advancing transformer manufacturing technology for the electric grid. By using precision additive manufacturing, it aims to create solid-state transformers that offer high power density, lower costs, and 10x performance improvements, facilitating grid expansion for renewable electricity generation and electric vehicle adoption for smart cities.
  2. The University of New Mexico received a Grant from the National Science Foundation aiming to modernize the electric grid for sustainability, adaptability, and consumer empowerment. It aligns with smart city research, enhancing energy stability, security, and resilience while fostering STEM workforce development. The center integrates microgrid optimization, controls, and customer behavior to create interconnected distribution feeder microgrids (DFMs).

5. Power & Electricity Generation

Power and electricity generation are fundamental components of advanced energy and clean technology, playing a crucial role in transitioning to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly energy landscape. Energy technology extensively utilizes renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal power to generate electricity. Advanced power generation technologies, including combined-cycle gas turbines and advanced nuclear reactors, aim to increase the efficiency of electricity production. The overarching goal of these technologies is to reduce fuel consumption and emissions per unit of electricity generated. Here are some of the technologies used in Power & Electricity Generation:

  • Hydroelectric Generators: Hydroelectric generators are vital components in power and electricity generation, harnessing the energy of flowing water to produce electricity.
  • Electrolysis Technologies: Electrolysis technologies play a crucial role in power and electricity generation, particularly in the context of energy storage and the production of hydrogen, which can be used as a clean energy carrier.
  • Energy Harvesting Technologies: Energy harvesting technologies are used to capture and convert ambient energy from the environment into electrical power. While they may not be as widely adopted as traditional power generation methods, they have specific uses and benefits in power and electricity generation: Low-Power Electronics and Wireless Sensor Networks.

Examples of R&D Awards and Initiatives:

  1. Kineticcore Solutions, LLC received an SBIR Phase I award through the National Science Foundation for a project that aims to develop a cost-competitive and environmentally sustainable energy storage solution, offering a non-chemical, non-hazardous alternative to lithium-ion batteries. The technology enables affordable and safe energy storage for grid modernization, renewable power integration, and carbon-based power generation replacement.
  2. Eden Geopower, Inc. was awarded a grant by the Department of Energy to support the development of Electro-Hydraulic Fracturing (E-HF) technology for Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS). This technology aims to enhance power generation by expanding reservoir volume without compromising fluid residence time, minimizing short circuits, and improving fracture permeability. An additional advantage is the ability to employ tracers for reservoir characterization.
  3. The Department of Energy’s Grid Deployment Office launched the Building a Better Grid Initiative in 2022 to make the U.S. power grid more resilient to the impacts of climate change, increase access to affordable and reliable clean energy, and create good-paying American jobs across industry sectors.

6. Environmental Monitoring

Environmental monitoring enables precise resource assessment, guiding the placement and optimization of renewable energy installations for maximum efficiency and minimal ecological impact. Real-time air and water quality monitoring in advanced energy facilities ensures compliance with environmental standards, promoting cleaner energy production and safeguarding local ecosystems. Here are some examples of the technologies used in Environmental Monitoring:

  • Energy Monitoring Systems: Energy monitoring systems are valuable tools in environmental monitoring, helping to track, analyze, and manage energy consumption in various contexts.
  • Carbon Capture Technologies: Carbon capture technologies are primarily used for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions rather than environmental monitoring.
  • Renewable Integration: Renewable energy integration is not typically used directly in environmental monitoring; instead, it is the other way around. Environmental monitoring is crucial for the effective deployment and management of renewable energy sources.

Examples of R&D Awards and Initiatives:

  1. MetroLaser, Inc. received an SBIR Phase I through the Department of Energy for the need for environmental monitoring, specifically in the context of geologic carbon storage (GCS). It highlights the importance of monitoring groundwater for metal contaminants released due to CO2 interactions in deep geological formations, emphasizing the early detection of CO2 leakage for long-term sequestration monitoring.

Public Spend Forum’s Coverage and Data in Advanced Energy and Clean Energy Technology

As part of our market research services and subscriptions, we have compiled data on the full set of investments being made by the U.S. government.  We have analyzed data on thousands of companies including potential companies that can enter the market, with the goal being to accelerate commercializing.

Please reach out to us at to get further information on how to access our research services, reports and data.

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