WASHINGTON -The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded nearly $2.5 million to 11 companies to support their work in eight key environmental areas: monitoring and control of air emissions, biofuels, green buildings, drinking water monitoring, hazardous waste monitoring, water infrastructure, homeland security, nanotechnology and innovation in manufacturing. Last year, the companies received "proof of concept" awards from EPA, and will use the additional funds announced today to move their technologies towards commercialization.
"The health and prosperity of our nation is due to the strength and ingenuity of our small businesses," said Dr. Paul T. Anastas, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Research and Development. "These awards will help spur innovation from America's small businesses so they can continue driving our economy and powering our environmental successes."
The awards are part of EPA's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which issues solicitations for research proposals from small science and technology firms. Phase I contracts are used to investigate the scientific merit and technical feasibility of a concept. The Phase II contracts, which are the contracts announced today, are used to develop and commercialize the technologies from the first phase. Some of the technologies that are being developed in these awards include using microbial fuel cells to simultaneously clean wastewater and generate electricity, and developing a chromium-free, corrosion-resistant coating that can be used for industrial, automotive, and aerospace corrosion protection.
There are approximately 25 million small businesses in the United States today. As the leading source of employment growth, these firms have generated 60-80 percent of net new jobs over the past decade and are responsible for developing most of the country's new technologies. To be eligible 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.