WASHINGTON, D.C.- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded seven contracts totaling more than $2 million to small businesses across the nation to develop new technologies to keep the environment clean and healthy. Companies won the contracts through the highly competitive annual Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program competition, which encourages small businesses to explore and develop environmental technologies from concept to commercialization.
“The innovation, passion, and commitment of these small businesses will have a lasting impact on our country by creating jobs, increasing economic competiveness, and protecting people’s health and our environment,” said Lek Kadeli, acting assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development.
In the last ten years SBIR has funded over 200 of these small companies, helping them grow and extend their capabilities. One such company is Ecovative Design, LLC, which after winning one of EPA’s SBIR contracts, was able to leverage that success to obtain $6 million in capital investment funding. Ecovative Design develops biologically based substitutes for polystyrene packaging and sustainable insulation. For packaging, Ecovative uses locally available waste, such as rice and soybean hulls as filler inside custom grown mushroom roots that can be made into a customizable shape to fit each customer’s particular need. The venture capital funding is helping Ecovative grow to meet the needs of corporate American customers such as Dell Computer and Ford.
The winning companies submitted their innovative ideas during the first phase of the SBIR competition in 2011, and received SBIR Phase I contracts of up to $80,000 to develop their concepts into technologies addressing key environmental areas. Winning the SBIR Phase I competition made these companies eligible to apply to the program’s Phase II competition this year. As Phase II recipients, these companies have received around $300,000 to further develop their technologies for the market place.
Phase II recipients include:
• FBS, Inc., Pennsylvania for technology addressing detection of defects in water pipelines using ultrasonic guided waves
• Lynntech, Inc., Texas, for developing automated, field deployable environmental monitors that promote clean up strategies for restoring contaminated sites to productive use
• TDA Research, Inc., Colorado, for technology using waste gas from anaerobic digesters on farms to generate energy while preventing groundwater contamination and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions
• Advanced Diamond Technologies, Inc., Illinois, for technology treating new types of contaminants in drinking water
• Adherent Technologies, Inc., New Mexico, for a pollution control technology reducing particulate pollution emitted by outdoor wood-fired boilers by more than 50 percent
• Faraday Technology, Inc., Ohio, for a drop-in green chrome plating process that replaces conventional carcinogenic plating technology
• OPTRA, Inc., Massachusetts, for a technology capable of trace level air quality, process monitoring, and chemical and biological threat detection
To be eligible to participate in EPA’s SBIR program, a company must be an organized, for-profit U.S. business and have fewer than 500 employees.