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Two New England Small Businesses Awarded EPA Funding to Develop Environmental Technologies

Contact Information: 
David Deegan (deegan.dave@epa.gov)

BOSTON - Two New England small businesses - one in Connecticut and the other in Massachusetts - were among eight companies nationwide awarded contracts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop innovative technologies to protect the environment.

Precision Combustion, Inc. in North Haven, Conn. and Aspen Products Group in Marlborough, Mass. were each given $300,000 by EPA to develop their projects. Both New England companies as well as the other six funded nationally have received smaller awards in the past from EPA to design the products.

"The green technologies that these companies are developing address important environmental and public health issues," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office.

Precision Combustion, Inc. will develop a low-cost air filter system that efficiently removes gaseous pollutants from indoor air such as volatile organic compounds and carbon dioxide. When full, the filter cleans itself and then returns to normal filter operation. By directly improving indoor air quality, this filter system would reduce the need for building ventilation, and thus reduce building energy consumption and financial costs.

"We believe our technology offers potential for improving indoor air quality for better human health, productivity and living at a lower overall cost," said Kevin Burns, president of Precision Combustion. "This also offers building owners a more valuable property, and HVAC and building environmental control system manufacturers with a useful component improving their products' value and attractiveness to their customers."

Aspen Products Group will be designing a membrane or skin that removes contaminants arising from wastewater that are being found more frequently in drinking water supplies. A membrane that rejects these contaminants while producing drinking water would be developed in this project. The membrane produces water at five to 10 times the rate of other membranes, significantly reducing the energy consumption and cost. These "emerging contaminants" include pharmaceuticals, antibiotics, hormones, flame retardants, personal care products, and pesticides. The technology also has applications in the chemical, petroleum, pharmaceutical, food-processing and wastewater-treatment industries.

"The diversity of color-, taste-, and odor-causing contaminants, along with heavy metals, hardness, and emerging contaminants, in the nation's water supplies presents challenges to the drinking water producer," said Mark Fokema, vice president of research and development at Aspen. "Aspen Products Group is committed to developing a lower cost, scalable, drinking water treatment process for the benefit of large-scale utilities, industrial users, and consumers alike."

The contracts give the companies funding to further develop and commercialize their products and ideas. These awards are only available to companies that submitted research proposals for their innovative technologies and were awarded earlier contracts up to $100,000.

Recipients outside New England include:
Environmental Fuel Research, LLC - Philadelphia, Penn. for developing a system to produce biofuel from grease trap waste.
ETSVP-JV, LLC - Roanoke, Virg. for developing innovative filters using nanomaterials to remove gaseous pollutants and particulates from contaminated air streams.
Lucid Design Group, Inc. - Oakland, Calif. for developing technology to drive behavior energy savings in commercial buildings.
MesoCoat, Inc. - Euclid, Ohio for developing corrosion-resistant coatings on steel to replace current more hazardous methods.
Sustainable Bioproducts, LLC - Bozeman, Mont. for developing a low-cost, simple, and scalable microbial process for conversion of municipal solid waste to fuels using fungus.
Vista Photonics, Inc. - Las Cruces, NM for developing an inexpensive, high-performance, portable air pollution monitor to continuously measure atmospheric ammonia.

EPA funds many environmentally-minded small businesses so they can bring their innovative technologies to market. A previous small business winner, GVD Corporation, created an environmentally friendly mold-release coating that makes indoor air healthier in manufacturing facilities by reducing the use of harmful chemicals. Okeanos Technologies is developing a new energy-efficient seawater desalination technology that could provide clean and affordable water where it is needed most. Providence Photonics is working to develop a real-time monitor that optimizes flare operation and reduces overall air toxics emissions from flaring activities in industrial facilities across the United States.

EPA is one of 11 federal agencies that participate in the small business program, which was enacted in 1982 to strengthen the role of small businesses in federal research and development, create jobs and promote U.S. technical innovation. To be eligible to participate in the program, a company must be an organized, for-profit U.S. business and have fewer than 500 employees.

Learn more about EPA's SBIR program at www.epa.gov/sbir .