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EPA Awards TDA Research, Inc. $225,000 for Development Process to Produce Low-Cost Biodiesel

Release Date: 03/09/2009
Contact Information: Laura Niles, (303) 312-6281, niles.laura@epa.gov

(Denver, Colo. – March 9, 2009) TDA Research, Inc. (TDA) of Wheat Ridge, Colo. has been awarded $225,000 by EPA to develop a process aimed at producing biodiesel from low-cost waste feedstocks. EPA awarded only eight of these Phase II contracts nationally to small businesses through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

“Small Colorado businesses like TDA are the future of our state’s renewable energy economy,” said Larry Grandison, EPA’s Communications Director in Denver. “With EPA’s support, TDA is refining a promising technology that transforms food and animal wastes into a low-cost fuel that reduces greenhouse gas emissions.”

After completion of their EPA Phase I SBIR contract, TDA determined that it can produce biodiesel from waste grease at a cost that is competitive with conventional diesel. Under the Phase II contract, TDA has identified a new process to solve technical problems involving cost and supply. This new process will run on low-cost waste and recycled oils and fats. TDA is working with Rocky Mountain Sustainable Enterprises (RMSE) of Boulder, Colo. to identify and collect local waste oils and fats for use in the process. RMSE currently collects nearly one million gallons of recycled waste vegetable oil per year in the Front Range. “Our goal is to convert a wide variety of waste oils and fats into a useful transportation fuel,” said Dr. Brian Elliott, Principal Investigator and Chemical Engineer on the project.

This Phase II project will operate and fully characterize a laboratory-scale version of the process running on waste oils and fats and help target the best operating conditions and the economics of producing large quantities of biodiesel. This project will help TDA prepare a more detailed engineering and economic analysis that will be used to market the process.

EPA is one of 11 federal agencies that participate in the SBIR Program established by the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982. The purpose of this Act is to strengthen the role of small businesses in federally funded research and development and help develop a stronger national base for technical innovation. An SBIR small business is defined as a for-profit organization with no more than 500 employees.

EPA issues annual solicitations for Phase I and Phase II research proposals from science and technology-based firms. Under Phase I, the scientific merit and technical feasibility of the proposed concept is investigated. Phase II contracts are limited to small businesses that have successfully completed their Phase I contracts. The objective of Phase II is to develop and commercialize the Phase I technology.

Companies with fewer than 500 employees are eligible to apply for SBIR funds. The EPA call for applications will be open from March 19 – May 20, 2009, at www.epa.gov/ncer/sbir. NSF also has an SBIR program which funds new environmental technologies. NSF will be requesting applications from March – June 2009, and then again in December 2009 at www.nsf.gov/eng/iip/sbir.*

For more information about the SBIR program, visit www.epa.gov/ncer/sbir

*The information originally provided in this press release referenced American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funds that are available to small businesses. These funds are available through the NSF SBIR program, not the EPA SBIR Program.