Authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF) is a nearly $25 million funding opportunity that leverages the R&D funding in DOE’s applied energy programs to mature promising energy technologies with the potential for high impact. TCF funds are matched with funds from private partners to support the commercialization of technologies. The TCF provides an opportunity to bolster partnerships between DOE’s National Labs and private industry.
The goal of the TCF is two-fold. First, it is designed to increase the number of energy technologies developed at DOE’s national labs that graduate to commercial development and achieve commercial impact. Second, the TCF enhances the Department’s technology transitions system with a forward-looking and competitive approach to lab-industry partnerships.
The TCF strengthens DOE’s technology transitions efforts in three key areas:
National Lab Technology Maturation: DOE’s national laboratories have consistently identified a lack of sufficient resources available to develop technologies to a stage that will attract private sector interest. In many cases, DOE or other public funding may support R&D activities up to an early technology readiness level, but it expires before the technology is matured to a point where a business will enter into a cooperative R&D agreement or license the technology.
Strategic CRADA Approach to Increase Commercial Impact: The TCF provides an opportunity to take a more proactive approach to applied program office support for lab-industry collaboration. Through the TCF, the applied program offices and national laboratories can pursue a strategic, competitive approach to commercializing technologies. Potential benefits of this approach include:
Creating a stronger incentive for national laboratories to identify their most promising technologies and industry partners for commercialization,
Empowering a broader set of potential industry partners to engage with the national laboratories, and
Enabling the program offices to identify technologies and industry partners with higher potential for commercial impact in support of their technology roadmaps.
Focused Industry Engagement to Identify High-Quality Partners: The TCF can be utilized to more fully enable national laboratories to pursue active industry engagement and customer scouting for select, promising energy technologies. This process can better enable the national laboratories to prepare these technologies for commercial adoption, identify the highest-quality prospective partners, and assist those industry partners in evaluating the technologies for their business models.
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