The "concentrating solar power," or CSP, systems use the heat generated by concentrating and absorbing the sun's energy to produce thermal energy that can be used immediately or saved, according to the agency.
3M is developing advanced front surfaces as low-cost replacements for thick glass mirrors for CSP systems. The government will provide up to $350,000 for the $437,000 project.
The Energy Department also will provide up to $400,000 for the $500,000 Alcoa project to develop an aluminum intensive collector to reduce CSP system and energy costs.
United Technologies Corp.'s Hamilton Sundstrand unit will receive up to $682,000 for two storage projects expected to cost a total of $852,000.
The Energy Department will provide up to $323,000 of a $403,000 project from PPG Industries Inc. for the development and commercialization of low-cost, high performance mirrors from alternate materials.
Shares of 3M added 4 cents to $83.45 in afternoon trading, while United Technologies fell 26 cents to $75.59, Alcoa gained 26 cents to $36.47 and PPG dipped 19 cents to $68.45.