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News Releases from Region 09

U.S. EPA awards green technology contract to San Diego thermoelectric company

Contact Information: 
Nahal Mogharabi (mogharabi.nahal@epa.gov)

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is awarding $100,000 to Hi-Z Technology, Inc., to create a biofueled stove to provide on-demand power with reduced emissions for household use in developing countries. The company is one of 13 companies nationwide receiving a combined $1.3 million in Small Business Innovation Research contracts to develop innovative technology to protect the environment.

“Hi-Z’s work is an example of the creative thinking needed to address environmental problems,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA's Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Small businesses play an integral role in creating clean air technologies that help ensure a sustainable future, here in the United States and internationally.”

Globally, many households cook on traditional stoves using solid biofuels, such as wood. Hi-Z, based in San Diego, is developing a “power” stove that requires less wood to operate. The stove will also produce up to 10 watts of electrical power for household use. In addition, the stove is designed to burn more efficiently than traditional versions, leading to a reduction in cooking fire soot and improved indoor air quality.

"The majority of families living in rural India cook on a wood fire and light their homes with expensive kerosene. The toxic fumes from these fires and lamps have led to pulmonary diseases becoming the leading cause of death among women and children in these communities,” said Fred Leavitt, vice-president of Hi-Z. “For the typical Indian family, a day’s worth of cooking will provide enough energy to power lights for several hours and fully charge one or two cell phones. Hi-Z is grateful to the EPA for this opportunity to save lives and improve the living conditions for millions of families."

This contract is part of EPA’s ongoing commitment to improve air quality and protect health through cleaner stoves. For example, in 2014, EPA awarded six Science to Achieve Results grants, totaling almost $9 million, to research cleaner technologies and fuels for cooking, lighting and heating homes. The goal is to improve air quality and protect the health of Alaska Natives and people across the developing world.

Each of the 13 recipients nationwide will receive a Small Business Innovation Research Phase I contract for up to $100,000 to develop their green technology. If Phase I is successful, companies will be eligible to apply for a Phase II contract of up to $300,000 to develop and commercialize their technology for the marketplace.

EPA is one of 11 federal agencies that participate in the SBIR Program established by the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982. EPA issues annual solicitations for Phase I and Phase II research proposals from science and technology-based firms.

More information about the EPA SBIR Program: www.epa.gov/sbir

More information about the SBIR Program across the Federal Government: www.sbir.gov/