In a time when small businesses are experiencing difficulty in the loan department, the U.S. EPA recently awarded $2.38 million in funding to 34 small businesses in 16 states that specialize in everything from pollution prevention to waste management.
The funding is part of the EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, which was established to help small businesses develop and commercialize new environmental technologies.
These businesses can earn more than $300,000 if the EPA deems their concept technically feasible and it shows enough progress during a trial phase of six months.
The EPA is one of 11 federal agencies that participates in the program.
“Innovation is the lifeline of progress – and scientific and technological innovation are essential to the progress we seek to make in protecting people and the planet,” said Dr. Paul T. Anastas, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development in a press release. “These small businesses are key to helping us reach that goal.”
What type of businesses qualify for funding in the SBIR Program? One recipient includes California-based Mobius Technologies Inc., which has developed an alternative for wood in construction made of recycled Polyurethane. This includes foam plastic used in furniture and automobiles, which would otherwise end up in landfills.
Another company, Michigan-based Technova Corporation, will be researching the application of recycled glass in the formation of concrete, which will reduce the amount of virgin cement that has to be produced.
While glass bottles are infinitely recyclable into new glass bottles, Technova will specialize in the handling of mixed-color waste glass since it typically must be used as an additive in other products.
For those who didn’t qualify for the EPA’s program, Richard Branson’s Virgin Green Fund is investing $220 million in established companies that are developing renewable energy according to The New York Times. The report says that the fund has already invested in 10 such categories after looking into 3,700.