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Small Business in Gainesville, Fl., Wins Aircraft Cabin Air Purification Research Contract

Release Date: 02/05/2009
Contact Information: Davina Marraccini, (404) 562-8293, marraccini.davina@epa.gov

(Atlanta, Ga. – Feb. 5, 2009) EPA has awarded a $69,795 Phase I contract for aircraft cabin air purification to Sol-gel Solutions, LLC (Sol-gel), in Gainesville, Fl., through its Small Business Innovation Research program. The contract is one of four “proof of concept” awards made in the Southeast to test the feasibility of the companies’ research concepts. If the results of this phase are successful, the company can submit a proposal for a Phase II contract of up to $345,000 to help commercialize the technology.

Sol-gel’s objective is to develop a purification system for aircraft cabin air using Silica-Titania Composites (STC), an innovative technology developed at the University of Florida. Poor air quality in aircraft cabins has been identified as a cause for negative health effects on pilots and flight crews, and symptoms can pose a serious threat if experienced by pilots or crew members during flight. STC has been successfully demonstrated to remove volatile organic compounds, a major source of indoor air pollution, and Sol-gel has licensed the technology for commercialization. While this research is focused on the airline industry, the system could work equally well for residential and commercial indoor air purification.

EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program provides financial support to small businesses to translate their innovative ideas into commercial products that address environmental problems. SBIR has helped spawn successful commercial ventures that not only improve our environment, but also create jobs, increase productivity and economic growth, and enhance the international competitiveness of the U.S. technology industry.

The 22 million small businesses in the United States employ about 51 percent of the private work force and develop most of the country’s new technologies. Years ago, Congress recognized the need to strengthen the participation of small businesses in federally-funded research and development by passing a law creating the Small Business Innovation Research program. An SBIR small business is defined as a for- profit organization with no more than 500 employees.

Additional information about SBIR can be found at http://www.epa.gov/ncer/sbir/.