The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $1.6 million in contracts to 23 small companies to assist their efforts to bring promising new green technologies to market, according to an EPA press release. This award is part of EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which helps small business throughout America develop technologies that are more protective of our air and water quality and promote alternative sources of energy.

Some initiatives that have emerged from the program include:
  • Innova Tech of Morrisville, N.C., is developing an affordable new way for restaurants or food franchises with charcoal broilers to reduce emissions.
  • DC Instruments of Thousand Oaks, Calif., will use sound waves to detect water leaks in aging water infrastructure pipes. Finding and repairing leaks promptly prevents costly pipe replacement.
  • A previous year’s contractor, Compact Membrane Systems, developed a vapor recovery system that captures and re-stores escaping gasoline vapor at gas station pumps, saving fuel costs and preventing air pollution. The California Air Resources Board has mandated its use at more than 13,000 gas stations in California by April 2009.
The Small Business Innovation Research program began in 1982. Under the program, small businesses propose to EPA innovative technologies to protect human health and safeguard the environment. These projects are then evaluated by the agency and those selected can receive awards up to $70,000 with a six-month period of performance. Those projects with the greatest commercial potential can become eligible for up to $225,000.

Since the program’s inception, EPA has helped fund more than 600 small businesses. A small business must have fewer than 500 employees, and at least 51 percent of the business must be owned by U.S. citizens to participate in the program.

The 23 contract recipients received their awards in January 2009.

For more information on SBIR awardees, visit

For information on the SBIR program, visit