May 31, 2011

Three Mass. Small Businesses Get EPA Funding to Develop Environmental Technologies

Award-winning projects aim to promote clean air and drinking water

Three small businesses in Massachusetts are receiving funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help efforts to develop new technologies that will protect the environment and public health. EPA is providing more than $454,000 between the companies for projects that are intended to promote clean air and clean drinking water. The three Massachusetts projects are among 10 selected nationwide receiving nearly $2.25 million in funding.

Earlier this year, the companies received "proof of concept" awards from EPA through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The companies will use the EPA funds to move their technologies towards commercialization and implementation.

The three Massachusetts companies, and their SBIR-award winning projects are:

• Aspen Products Group Inc. of Marlborough, which is working to develop a simple, effective, retrofittable and low-cost approach to mitigating fine particulate and VOC emissions from cooking sources (i.e., reducing hazardous air pollutant emissions from commercial kitchens). The total award for this project is $295,000;
• OPTRA Inc. of Topsfield, which is working to develop a “Fourier Transform Infrared Phase Shift Cavity Ring Down Spectrometer” for high sensitivity detection of air toxic compounds. This award is for $79,638; and
• Reactive Innovations LLC of Littleton is developing an “advanced contaminant inactivation system” to improve drinking water disinfection systems available for small communities. This project has been awarded $79,994.

Each year, EPA’s SBIR program gives small businesses the opportunity to compete for funds to develop technology addressing key environmental areas, such as green building, innovation in manufacturing, nanotechnology, greenhouse gases, drinking water monitoring and treatment, wastewater and sustainable infrastructure, air pollution monitoring and control, biofuels, waste monitoring and management and homeland security.

Other winners this year include small businesses in California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan and New Mexico. Other innovative projects include reducing toxic chemicals from landfills, producing an environmentally friendly adhesive, reducing methane emissions by converting dilute methane waste gas streams into useful fuel and designing a real-time environmental water monitoring sensor.