EPA Website Features Innovative Environmental Technology


Green innovations are catching on. A cutting tool coating that mimics the surface of a lotus leaf to provide effective lubrication without the use of environmentally unfriendly cutting fluids has recently entered the marketplace. A newly developed microbial fuel cell generates electricity from organics in wastewater, creating power and cleaner water at the same time. In addition, a new scrubbing technology is helping the semiconductor industry reduce toxic air emissions.
Green innovations are catching on. An cutting tool coating which mimics a leaf’s top to give lubrication that was effective without the use of cutting fluids that were environmentally friendly has entered the marketplace. A newly developed microbial fuel cell generates power from organics in waste water, creating cleaner and power water. Moreover, a new scrubbing tech is helping the semiconductor industry reduce toxic air emissions.The connection between these three examples–and numerous others–would be that they likely wouldn’t have made it past the concept phase had it wasn’t around for seed money provided by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program.Eleven government bureaus have SBIR programs, all which focuses on the mission of the particular agency. EPA’s SBIR program, of course, supports promising “green” concepts. The Agency awards capital totaling approximately $5 million dollars annually to small organizations taking care of attracting publication solutions and technologies to the market place that would benefit EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment.SBIR can be just a two-phase program. So that companies will establish the feasibility of these research at Phase I, amounts up to $ 80,000 are granted. Projects that garner Stage II awards are encouraged with the prospect of yet another $ 70,000 for its commercialization of technologies and services, with a base amount of $ 300,000. “Phase I will be evidence of concept whilst Phase II is focused on development and commercialization,” April Richards, Acting Program Manager of EPA’s SBIR program explains.EPA partners with the National Science Foundation (NSF) SBIR program. The EPA-NSF venture “leverages our smaller funding and influences another, larger bureau with more funds available to finance additional top quality environmental engineering,” says Richards. Sharing outreach actions and supporting assuring businesses to apply to the sources
has helped the Agency view more emerging technologies get started. In 2010, the venture saw NSF fund at least seven projects that additionally were filed to EPA’s program, freeing-up EPA to finance even more technologies.An award through EPA’s SBIR program helped an organization called NanoMech Exit EPA Disclaimer develop TuffTek, the lotus-leaf-inspired coat that serves like a lubricant delivery platform for cutting tools. With more than 100 million gallons of cutting fluids used annually in the USA, the technology has the potential to make a substantial contribution toward reducing the stream of hazardous materials. Moreover, the new coat may improve tool life 300 per cent in comparison to traditional coatings, also it has been promoted successfully to cutting tool users and manufacturers in the automotive and other fabricating industries.The nanoparticle coating process NanoMech developed has further uses in advanced fabricating, alongside generation exemptions, and also the electronics, military, and biomedical industries.