EPA Awards 21 Small Businesses Grants to Develop Innovative Environmental Technologies
EPA awards seed money for private sector innovation on the bleeding edge of today's environmental problems hopes to spark ideas that save lives and improve human health and the environment.
Yesterday, July 18, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $2.3 million in funding for 21 small businesses to develop technologies that will help protect human health and the environment by monitoring air quality, treating drinking water, cleaning up contaminated sites, and creating greener, less toxic materials. Two projects in New England will each receive $100,000 to develop methods to sequester PFAS from wastewater, and to develop a wearable, low-weight, high accuracy, air-quality measurement tool.
"These funds support small businesses that have developed new technologies to monitor air quality, test for PFAS, and address other pressing environmental challenges," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "Through EPA's Small Business Innovation Research program, we provide important assistance to entrepreneurs as they develop innovative solutions that will strengthen both environmental protections and economic growth."
These 21 small businesses are receiving Phase I contracts from EPA's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which awards contracts annually through a two-phase competition. Companies compete for a Phase I award of up to $100,000 by submitting research that addresses key environmental issues. After receiving a Phase I award, companies are eligible to compete for a Phase II award of up to $300,000 to further develop and commercialize the technology.
Anfiro, Inc. in Woburn, Mass., for example, won for its Block Copolymer Membranes for Total Removal of Ionic and Nonionic PFAS from Industrial Wastewaters Optionally Co-Contaminated by Alcohols. Anfiro is manufacturing block copolymer membranes with uniformly sized, nanoscale pores. The technology's uniquely-sharp size-based separation mechanism should allow both ionic and nonionic PFAS to be sequestered from wastewater. Most current treatment methods remove only ionic PFAS. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals. PFAS chemicals are very persistent in the environment and in the human body – meaning they don't break down and they can accumulate over time.
EPA is one of 11 federal agencies that participate in the SBIR program, enacted in 1982 to strengthen the role of small businesses in federal research and development, create jobs, and promote U.S. technical innovation. To be eligible, a company must be an organized, for-profit U.S. business and have fewer than 500 employees.
For more information on EPA's SBIR Phase I recipients, visit https://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/recipients.display/rfa_id/641/records_per_page/ALL
Source: U.S. EPA.