U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced that VinciVR Inc. will receive $200,000 as part of 259 Department of Energy grants totaling $53 million to 210 small businesses in 38 states.
VinciVR Inc. will receive $200,000 to work with offshore developers, disadvantaged communities, and training organizations to develop a portable Virtual Reality (VR) training tool for mariners that simulates offshore wind farms in various weather conditions. This will help mariners learn navigation/operations through a wind farm before construction begins.
"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 crisis," said Steve Binkley, Acting Director of the DOE's Office of Science.
Through the SBIR/STTR program across the federal government, small business powers the U.S. economy and generates thousands of jobs, both directly and indirectly. DOE Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards aim at transforming DOE-supported science and technology breakthroughs into viable products and services.
"DOE's investments will enable these economic engines to optimize and commercialize their breakthroughs while developing the next generation of science leaders and ensuring U.S. scientific and economic competitiveness that will benefit all Americans."
Additionally, Vinci has partnered with IWNL LLC, led by former Head of Training at Siemens Gamesa, Dr. Cynthia Brown, to design a digital tool to help workers filter through offshore wind careers and utilize VR training at the point of need. Vinci currently offers VR tools for offshore wind training; these planned expansions will further recruit, train, and retain the future workforce.
"Offshore Wind will create thousands of high-paying jobs while fundamentally changing U.S. energy, but ensuring a prepared workforce will be a significant challenge," says Eagle Wu, CEO of VinciVR.
"We will make sure Americans are ready for this change through this DOE investment."
"Promoting diversity within renewable energy is a core internal initiative. We are excited for this partnership in building a dynamic and operationally ready workforce to meet the offshore wind energy industry's needs," says Dr. Cynthia Brown, Managing Partner of IWNL.