Meet the Energy Department's Tech Startup Bets

For more than 30 years, the federal government has set aside a small portion of its R&D spending to fund small businesses working on new technologies. The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced the names of 17 companies—selected from a pool of 70 that received earlier funding—that are getting Small Business Innovation Research grants of about $1 million each to develop energy-efficient and renewable-energy technology. Those recipients include Pixelligent Technologies, a Baltimore company trying to improve automotive lubricants, and Brittmore Group, a San Jose company using robotics to lower the costs of solar panel installation.

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