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Santa Fe Small Business Receives EPA Research Contract

Release Date: 3/9/2005
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

     Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Southwest Sciences, Inc., of Santa Fe, New Mexico, received $140,000 from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contracts program. Southwest Sciences was chosen from a pool of 363 applicants from across the country.

     "I applaud Southwest Sciences for its success in this highly competitive program and look forward to sharing its proven technologies with industries across the country.  The vitality and innovation of small business like Southwest Sciences continue to find better ways to fuel the nation's economy while protecting natural resources," EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said.

     Southwest Sciences will develop two different technologies for SBIR.  In the first, the company will design a new, low-cost, carbon monoxide sensor for control systems in small industrial burners.  The technology will help meet regulatory goals to minimize pollution as well as optimize heat release for these systems.  The device will permit precise control of the burner using a simple, solid-state, optical sensor and directly provide a signal to control the fuel to air ratio.

     The successful completion of this project would lead to a simple, low-cost, rugged feedback control sensor suitable for a variety of combustion industries that generate heat.  It could be used with only minor modification to monitor other gases at very low concentrations (parts per million) and would have commercial applications beyond process control as a continuous emissions monitor for environmental and safety applications.

     In the second project, Southwest Sciences proposes to design, build, and test a real-time, portable instrument to detect polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).  The technology will be able to identify PAHs at extremely low levels in water and would be considerably less expensive than other approaches.  In future work, the company hopes to take the prototype - which will include diode laser optics, a detector, electronics and a computer - and fit it into a space the size of a briefcase.

     The instrument could potentially be used at industrial hazardous waste sites and treatment facilities and municipal waste disposal sites.  It could also be used for waste monitoring and remediation.  This portable, onsite assessment instrument could provide real-time, PAH contamination profiles and distributions during remediation efforts.

     EPA's competitive SBIR program offers critical financial support to small businesses to develop the best innovative technologies.  EPA's SBIR program focuses on important areas related to environmental protection, including clean air and water, hazardous and solid wastes, pollution prevention, remediation, and monitoring.  Recent issues include homeland security, clean-up technologies and technology solutions for specific environmental needs.  

     To learn more about EPA's SBIR program and research projects, please visit