DOE said the grants will help companies in 26 states focus on making technologies that have potential in commercial markets and for creating jobs.
The goal of the projects is to reduce dependence on imported oil and maintain clean air and water, Chu said in the release.
DOE is awarding the funds through its Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs.
All 104 grants are for phase two work, where companies will receive up to $1 million for work over two years.
Phase two requires awardees to build on conceptual work from phase one and pursue next steps in bringing technologies to the market.
Projects receiving grants will include large wind turbine towers, particle accelerators with medical applications energy-efficient data centers and new imaging and X-ray technologies.
DOE said small business created 64 percent of all net new jobs between 1993 and 2008, totaling nearly 14.5 million new jobs.
Small firms also employ nearly 40 percent of the country’s science and engineering workforce, the department said.