Department of Energy Awards Small Business Innovation Research Grant to Higher Wire Inc.

Department of Energy Awards Small Business Innovation Research Grant to Higher Wire Inc.

The award is the second SBIR grant that Higher Wire has received.

July 10, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced that it awarded Higher Wire with a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to develop a cell-level battery power conversion system. The project, titled "High-gain Cell-level all-GaN-based Soft-switched CLLC Resonant Converter System for Grid-Tied Energy Storage Systems," aims to address the inherent weaknesses of battery modules that use series-connected cells to boost their voltage, wherein individual cells heavily impact overall system performance and a single cell failure may shutdown the entire system. Higher Wire has partnered with Arizona State University's Ira A Fulton School of Engineering for the project.

"Cost-effective storage is critical to the widespread success of sustainable energy, and this grant will allow us to create more reliable and longer-lasting battery systems," said Trevor Warren, CEO of Higher Wire. "It will also greatly reduce lifecycle costs and carbon emissions by all-but-eliminating many barriers to deploying batteries for a second life."

The award is a portion of $72 million in funding for small businesses to pursue scientific, clean energy, and climate research, development, and demonstration projects. The funding will support 296 projects across 44 states and addresses multiple topic areas, such as renewable energy, nuclear energy, cybersecurity, advanced materials and manufacturing, microelectronics, and artificial intelligence. Today’s announcement underscores the Biden-Harris Administration's deep commitment to advancing innovative climate solutions and strengthening America’s global scientific leadership, which are critical to achieving the President's goal of a carbon-free grid by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050. 

“America’s small businesses have always played a critical role in moving our nation forward, and this entrepreneurial spirit helped established America as a global leader in science and innovation,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “President Biden understands this, which is why DOE is providing companies coast to coast with resources to develop game changing solutions to tackle the climate crisis and build a clean energy future.” 

America’s small businesses play a critical role in facilitating the transition from discovery to innovation, helping create a bridge between the scientific laboratory and the commercial marketplace. DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards aim to transform science and technology breakthroughs into viable products and services that can be utilized by the American people and across all sectors of the nation’s economy.   

Funded through the DOE’s SBIR and STTR programs, today’s selections are primarily for Phase I research and development that focuses on establishing technical feasibility for proposed innovations. Phase I awardees will compete for larger Phase II awards to fund prototype or process development. Additionally, a limited number of Fast-Tracks (combined Phase I and Phase II awards) have also been awarded. The median Phase I award is $200,000 for a period of six to twelve months.

Click here for the full Department of Energy announcement