Tetramer Technologies named Small Business of the Year – By U.S. Department of Energy

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Tetramer Technologies, LLC located in Pendleton, has been honored with the 2023 SBIR/STTR Small Business of the Year Award by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
The presentation was made during a recent ceremony in Minneapolis, MN. This prestigious recognition highlights Tetramer’s innovative contributions to environmentally sustainable technologies and their successful commercialization efforts within the energy sector.
The SBIR/STTR Small Business of the Year Award recognizes a U.S. small business that exemplifies the spirit of the DOE’s SBIR and STTR programs by enhancing high-technology research and development (R&D) competitiveness both within the Department and in the marketplace. Award recipients are evaluated on their exceptional performance in stimulating U.S. technological innovation, providing benefits from DOE-funded R&D, and contributing to U.S. economic growth through commercialization of innovations.
This award was conferred for Tetramer’s groundbreaking work funded by the DOE Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) SBIR program. Tetramer developed a biobased, biodegradable, non-toxic, and non-bioaccumulating turbine oil, VBASE® Hydro T-EL™, designed to meet the rigorous demands of hydropower facilities while being environmentally friendly. Central to this achievement is Tetramer’s development of the Secondary Polyol Ester™ base oil technology, which forms the foundation of VBASE® Hydro T-EL™.
VBASE® Hydro T-EL™ and the larger VBASE SPE® base oil line stand out for their unique molecular structure, providing superior performance and compatibility without the environmental drawbacks of traditional petroleum-based lubricants. The oil meets the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for environmentally acceptable lubricants (EALs), is listed on the EU Ecolabel LuSC-list, and has achieved USDA BioPreferred certification for its high biobased content.
Tetramer has established key international partnerships to drive the commercial deployment of the turbine oil, VBASE® Hydro T-EL™. Collaborations with global industry leaders such as GE Renewable Energy and hydropower operators like Natel Energy, Vattenfall, and the Porjus Hydropower Centre Foundation in Sweden underscore the oil’s utility. Additionally, Tetramer has engaged over 400 lubricant formulators and end users, with more than 60 companies currently evaluating samples. Their first commercial installation in a U.S. hydropower facility is scheduled for Q4 2024.
Tetramer has transitioned the commercialization of its base oils and lubricant technology to its subsidiary, VBASE® Oil Company. This move will further enhance the products’ market reach. Engagements with North American distributor Sea-Land Chemical and European lubricant companies are setting the stage for global expansion. Achieving REACH regulatory certification, expected in Q3 2024, will open the $1.5 billion EU synthetic ester base oil market.
Tetramer’s work aligns with the DOE’s mission to stimulate U.S. technological innovation and promote economic growth. With patented technologies and active collaborations with academic and research institutions, Tetramer exemplifies the impact of SBIR/STTR funding on advancing sustainable technologies. The nomination for this award was made by Dana McCoskey, Environmental Technologies Manager with the DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Water Power Technologies Office, recognizing Tetramer’s significant contributions to the field. Quotes “This award is a testament to the hard work and innovation of our entire team at Tetramer,” said Dr. Jeff DiMaio, CEO of Tetramer Technologies. “It highlights our commitment to pushing the boundaries of material science to create solutions that meet the ever-growing demands of industry while prioritizing environmental sustainability.”
Zach Hunt, Principal Investigator on the program accepting the award at the DOE Small Business Forum and Expo today said, “Receiving this award is a tremendous honor for our team. It validates our 7 years of continuous effort in creating sustainable and innovative solutions for the hydropower industry. As industries increasingly shift to sustainable lubricants, the DOE’s backing has been crucial in helping us address the unique needs of the hydropower sector.”
Operating in Pendleton, SC since 2001, Tetramer Technologies is an advanced materials company dedicated to the development of market-driven materials and transitioning those materials from the lab to market. With extensive R&D and manufacturing capabilities, Tetramer serves as both a research partner and a supplier of proprietary materials. The team includes scientists and engineers with backgrounds in organic, physical, polymer, and analytical chemistry, materials science, and chemical engineering with expertise in materials design, synthesis, analytical characterization, and scale-up.
Company websites: www.tetramer.com and www.vbaseoil.com