U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm recently announced that Arkansas-based technology company, FR8relay, will receive $206,468 as part of the 259 Department of Energy grants which total $53 million and will go to 210 small businesses in 38 states.
FR8relay is a Bentonville-based technology company that supports a more efficient, profitable, equitable and sustainable trucking logistics ecosystem that is supported by U.S. Department of Agriculture and Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
Included in the awards are projects relating to particle accelerators and fusion technology, applied nanoscience, quantum information applications and dark matter research, along with a wide range of other efforts.
“Supporting small businesses will ensure we are tapping into all of America’s talent to develop clean energy technologies that will help us tackle the climate crises,” said Steve Binkley, acting director of the DOE Office of Science.
According to the DOE, the US relies on trucking to move 72.5 percent of its freight and the current model of long-haul trucking leads to wasted emissions, fuel, capacity and an untenable job for truck drivers– creating a human capacity gap.
As a result, FR8relay will receive $206,468 under the subtopic of ‘Vehicle Technologies – Energy Efficiency in Emerging Mobility Systems: Developing and Applying Novel Mobility Solutions for Underserved and Disadvantaged Communities.’
This topic area calls upon small businesses developing and applying novel mobility technology solutions in order to increase energy productivity for individuals and businesses. FR8relay’s novel relay mobility solution could reduce emissions, increase mobility energy productivity and increase truck utilization, which in turn would improve truck driving jobs and create economic development opportunities for economically distressed communities.
The DOE seeks innovations that optimize the overall transportation system in the Phase I award, while broadly addressing the needs of communities that are traditionally underserved and disadvantaged. Phase I also plans, “actualizing a national goal of net-zero carbon emissions hinges on communities exercising agency in the integration of innovative technologies.”
Deme Yuan, cofounder of FR8relay, applauds the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s recognition of the importance of informed-decision and community-centered research.
“Stakeholder buy-in is critical, not only to achieving just and equitable energy transition, but to successful transfer of technology to customers,” he said. “We’re honored to be among the 210 awardees of this SBIR program, and are eager to get started on the project. Stay tuned for more information about our community and industry partners on this project.”
FR8relay’s Phase I DOE Small Business Innovation Research project will focus on engaging relay trucking stakeholders in economically disadvantaged communities to collect critical end-user and community design inputs.
With the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs across the federal government, small businesses power the U.S. economy– generating thousands of jobs, directly and indirectly. These DOE awards aim to transform science and technology breakthroughs backed by the organization, leading to viable products and services. In aiding in scientific discovery, the awards also support the development of specialized technologies and instruments. For more information about the DOE small business grants, click here.