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Small Businesses Tackle Big Environmental Issues with SBIR Grants

SBIR funding for small businesses to commercialize green technologies

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Small businesses can be the source of innovative ideas that change the way America does business on a huge scale. EPA provided $1.6 million in 2008 funding for seven small companies to commercialize green technologies that promise to deliver BIG results.

For example, Media and Process Technology will develop a ceramic membrane system that recovers both water and energy from boiler flue gas. Industrial boilers account for 35 percent of U.S. industrial energy consumption, and if this recovery system is implemented nationally, it’s estimated it would recover 70 billion gallons of water annually and save 500 trillion BTUs of energy.

"Small businesses are the engine for the U.S. economy, and these small businesses show that enterprise and financial success can also spell environmental success," said Dr. George Gray, assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Research and Development.

Phase II winners include a more efficient biodiesel production process and nanomaterials as an alterative to mercury in lighting fixtures.

The companies that received Phase II SBIR funding are:

  • Compact Membrane Systems, Inc., of Wilmington, Del.
  • Giner, Inc., Newton, Mass.
  • KSE, Inc., Sunderland, Mass.
  • Lesktech Limited, Marquette, Mich.
  • Media and Process Technology, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Nanomaterials and Nanofabrication Laboratories, LLC., Fayetteville, Ark.
  • NanoScale Materials, Inc., Manhattan, Kan.

There are approximately 25 million small businesses in the United States that employ more than 50 percent of workers and develop most of the country's new technologies.

SBIR was established to ensure that new technologies are developed to solve priority environmental problems.

Since its inception in 1982, EPA’s SBIR program has helped fund more than 600 small businesses through its two-phased approach.

Under Phase I, the scientific merit and technical feasibility of the proposed concept are investigated. EPA awards Phase I contracts of up to $70,000 with a 6 month period of performance.

Phase II contracts are given to Phase I businesses whose technologies show the greatest commercialization potential. In Phase II, EPA awards contracts of up to $225,000 and the period of performance is typically 24 months.

EPA is one of 11 federal agencies that participate in the SBIR program, enacted in 1982 to strengthen the role of small businesses in federal research and development, create jobs, and promote U.S. technical innovation in the United States.

EPA will be accepting submissions for the next year’s Phase I SBIR awards until May 21, 2008. To participate in SBIR, a small business must have fewer than 500 employees, and at least 51 percent of the business must be owned by U.S. citizens.

More information on the Phase II projects:

SBIR program:

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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