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EPA: Silicon Valley, SoCal Tech Innovators Secure Federal Funding to Transform Innovative Ideas into Environmental Solutions

Release Date: 05/22/2012
Contact Information: Mary Simms, 415-947-4270; Simms.Mary@epa.gov

$2 million to 25 companies in support of technology development
SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is awarding $2 million to 25 companies throughout the nation in support of technology development toward sustainable solutions for the environment. The SBIR program is part of EPA’s Technology Innovation for Environmental and Economic Progress: An EPA Roadmap, which focuses on linking research and development, policy and finance.

EPA’s SBIR program supports small businesses’ development of new technologies addressing key environmental areas. The technological concepts submitted to this year’s competition include drinking water monitoring and treatment, sustainable infrastructures, green building, innovation in manufacturing, greenhouse gas reduction, air pollution monitoring and control and waste monitoring and management.

This year’s Phase I winners in California include:

    Membrane Technology and Research, Inc., in Menlo Park, Calif., is developing a technology to reclaim and reuse solvents on-site that will decrease waste and reduce solvent emissions.
    Intelligent Optical Systems, Inc., in Torrance, Calif., is developing an optical fiber sensor for detecting carbon emissions from deep storage sequestration reservoirs which will protect groundwater resources.
    Altex Technologies Corporation, in Sunnyvale Calif., is creating an innovative process to manage the moisture content of biomass which will increase on-farm storage potential and increase ease of transport to a biorefinery.
    Los Gatos Research, Inc., in Mountain View Calif., is developing a low-cost, rugged monitor for the detection of hazardous air pollutants. The new monitor will provide measurement accuracy up to 500 times better than current technologies.

    “Small businesses play an essential role in our communities and economic growth,” said April Richards, program manager for EPA’s SBIR Program. “These companies are making a difference in protecting our environment, developing green jobs, and exploring innovation and technology solutions to environmental issues.”

    The full list of 25 companies awarded contracts make up Phase I of this year’s annual competition. The winners will compete for Phase II funding to commercialize their technologies, helping to protect Americans’ health and the environment. To be eligible to participate in the SBIR program, a company must be an organized, for-profit U.S. business and have fewer than 500 employees. Phase I awards may be up to $80,000, and Phase II awards may be up to $300,000.

    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. EPA awards firm-fixed-price Phase I contracts of up to $80,000 for 6 months. Through this phased approach to SBIR funding, EPA can determine whether the research idea, often on high-risk advanced concepts, is technically feasible, whether the firm can do high-quality research, and whether sufficient progress has been made to justify a larger Phase II effort.

    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. Competitive awards are based on the results of Phase I and the commercialization potential of the Phase II technology. In Phase II, EPA awards contracts of up to $300,000 for two years. EPA also offers a "Commercialization Option" of up to $70,000 and one additional year for firms with third party financing for accelerating commercialization.

    More information on the winners: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/sbir/12awards

    More information on the Technology Innovation Roadmap: http://www.epa.gov/envirofinance/innovation.html

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