Newswise — RICHLAND, Wash. – Three small businesses have been selected to collaborate with researchers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to address technical challenges concerning bio-coal, hydrogen for fuel cell cars and nanomaterial manufacturing.


The companies are among the 38 different small businesses selected to participate in the third round of DOE’s Small Business Vouchers pilot. The program enables American small businesses to leverage the world-class capabilities of DOE’s national laboratories and bring the businesses’ advanced energy products to the marketplace faster.


In the pilot’s first two rounds, DOE connected 12 of its national labs with 76 small businesses. With this latest round, a total of 114 small businesses will have been selected to collaborate with a DOE national lab. The selected businesses are able to tap into the intellectual and technical resources needed to overcome critical technology challenges they face and help their advanced energy products gain a global competitive advantage.


PNNL is among five DOE national labs leading the pilot and is specifically supporting small businesses in five of the lab’s areas of expertise: bioenergy, water power, advanced manufacturing, fuel cells and buildings. In this round, PNNL received $610,000 in vouchers to support the following three small business collaborations:


ThermChem Corporation, located in Portland, Ore., will work with PNNL chemical engineer Karl Albrecht and his colleagues to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the company’s hydrothermal carbonization method, which converts dairy manure into bio-coal. PNNL will also assess the technical and economic feasibility of extracting valuable byproducts from liquid waste created during bio-coal production.


Emerald Energy NW, located in Bothell, Wash., will work with PNNL researcher Jamie Holladay and his colleagues to fabricate, test and identify improvements to a key component needed for rotary magnetic gas liquefaction, which turns hydrogen gas into a liquid so it can be transported to fueling stations for fuel cell cars


InnaVenture, located in Wilkes-Barre, Penn., will work with PNNL Laboratory Fellow Pete McGrail and his colleagues to develop and test improvements to the company’s method to manufacture a highly sought-after type of nanomaterial called metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs.


Small Business Vouchers is part of the Tech-to-Market Program within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Tech-to-Market is focused on strengthening the innovation ecosystem by eliminating common barriers that prevent market exploration of new energy technologies. To learn more about the pilot and current projects, visit


The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates research and development of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality.


For more information, see the full DOE announcement:


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Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,400 staff and has an annual budget of nearly $1 billion. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. As the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information on PNNL, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.