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Grants to Develop Green Technology Go to 5 Massachusetts Companies

Release Date: 04/29/2010
Contact Information: Paula Ballentine, (617) 918-1027

(Boston, Mass. – April 29, 2010) – Five Massachusetts-based companies will share nearly $350,000 from EPA to develop innovative, sustainable technologies to protect human health and the environment. These efforts will help improve air quality, protect our water, work to decrease the effects of climate change, and support green jobs.

Aerodyne Research, Inc. of Billerica, Aspen Products Group, Inc. of Marlborough, Enchem Engineering of Newton, Ma, Excellims Corporation of Acton and InAct Labs, LLC of Cambridge are among the 34 small businesses nationwide to receive EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program was established to ensure that new technologies are developed to solve priority environmental problems. EPA is one of 11 federal agencies that participate in the SBIR program, enacted in 1982 to strengthen the role of small businesses in federal research and development, create jobs, and promote technical innovation in the United States.

Aerodyne Research, Inc will use its funding to create a PM2.5 reduction approach for small two-stroke engines. Their objective is to demonstrate that they can uphold the durability of the two-stroke engine, maintain the gaseous emissions performance over the life of the engine, and also ensure that the approach is cost effective. A significant source of PM2.5 emissions comes from small two-stroke engines that are used in outdoor power equipment such as leaf blowers, chain saws, and string trimmers, as well a larger two-stroke engines used in recreational vehicles such as ATVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and marine outboard motors. These engines account for roughly 25% of the PM2.5 emissions from the 2020 NONROAD emission inventory. The benefits of this technology are broad, ranging from greatly reduced health effects for users of portable power equipment to improved air quality throughout the country and overseas.

"Aerodyne Research is very pleased to have the opportunity provided by the EPA Phase I SBIR award to demonstrate its team's technology for greatly reducing small particulate emissions from two-stroke engines,” said Kurt D. Annen, Principal Engineer for Aerodyne Research, Inc. “This technology, which can be implemented at very low cost, will significantly reduce health risks for operators of small outdoor power equipment and improve local air quality."

Aspen Products Group, Inc. will use its grant to research the reduction of hazardous air pollutant emissions from commercial kitchens. Particulate matter (PM) and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from commercial cooking establishments are a subject of increasing concern. Although increased awareness of the health hazards of respirable particulates and VOCs has promoted the development of new technologies to reduce emissions from restaurants, current technologies do not remove all hazardous air pollutants, have high capital cost, or have high operating costs. Aspen Products will develop a microstructured filter that will trap and oxidize PM and VOCs at low exhaust temperatures and destroy exhaust pollutants at high efficiency with low capital and operating costs.

“Airborne emissions from commercial cooking establishments are a major contributor to urban air quality problems. Aspen Products Group’s catalytic filtration technology has the potential to significantly reduce particulate and VOC emissions, while also offering the end-user the benefit of reduced grease deposition within their ventilation system,” said Mark Fokema, V.P.of Research & Development at Aspen Products Group, Inc. “In this project, Aspen plans to develop a prototype filter and demonstrate its operation in a commercial kitchen environment.”

Enchem Engineering is using its funding to develop an advances mixed oxidation and inclusion technology for waste management. Coal tar contaminants, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are currently difficult to treat in a timely and cost efficient manner. The generally poor performance of conventional PAH treatment schemes, such as soil flushing or bioremediation, has led to research application of innovative in-situ remediation methods. This project focuses on the in situ destruction of recalcitrant coal tar PAH in soil and groundwater. The demand for this technology as a method of PAH soil remediation is rated in billions of dollars for manufactured gas plant sites owned by the utility industry. There are many other types of sites that require remediation of PAHs such as fuel oils, jet fuels, and others at military bases as well as NPL sites.

"We are extremely thankful for EPA support and recognition of our efforts to provide safe, innovative, and effective in situ site clean-up technologies,” said Raymond Bell, Principal Engineer at EnChem Engineering, Inc.

Excellims Corporation will use it’s funding to develop a compact high resolution electrospray ionization ion mobility spectrometer (compact IMS) for online water monitoring that Homeland Security could use. Among twelve classes of water contaminants grouped in EPA’s WaterSentinel, online detection of toxic industrial chemicals (TIC) and chemical warefare agnets (CWA) remains one of the major challenges. Their proposal describes an electrospray ionization – high resolution ion mobility spectrometer (ESI-HRIMS) system that is suitable for detecting CWAs, their degradation product, and other TICs as a quantitative online contamination monitoring device with direct water sampling that requires minimal sample treatment and reduces environmental impact. This compact IMS device could either be integrated into a comprehensive water monitoring system or be configured as a standalone device for real time contaminant monitoring,

“Excellims is very excited to receive this EPA SBIR funding. It will allow us to utilize our innovative high resolution IMS technology to develop a compact water monitoring instrument based on electrospray ionization ion mobility spectrometer, said Ching Wu, President & CEO of Excellims Corporation. “Without the SBIR funding, we would not have been able to start working on this new chemical detection system for environmental monitoring application. We are committed to developing and marketing the highest performance detector for chemical agents and toxic industrial chemicals, as well as other hazard materials.”

InAct Labs is using this funding to develop bio-electrochemical systems for ethanol wastewater treatment. Ethanol production for use as biofuel produces 3-5 liters of waste for every liter of ethanol. This waste contains significant amounts of stillage that is high in both total suspended solids (TSS) and chemical oxygen demand (COD), requiring significant processing for remediation. This project will research the novel approach to ethanol stillage treatment, based on microbial fuel cell (MFCs) processes. InAct Labs believes that MFCs are an attractive candidate for treating the liquid portion of stillage because they operate best at diffused wastewater ranges, getting rid of the need for costly dewatering or concentration steps. MFCs also produce small amounts of electricity thus creating and energy-efficient combined process.

“At IntAct Labs, we are dedicated to the rapid innovation and critical analysis required to commercialize biotechnological solutions for the resource challenges facing our society,” said Justin Buck, Chief Technology Officer. “At the intersection of renewable energy and clean water, our project aims to reduce the energy consumption in treating the waste products of bioethanol production and increase the amount of water available for reuse in the facility, thereby reducing the cost of bioethanol and making it an economically viable and environmentally friendly source of energy. We are exploring strategic partnerships to bring this technology to market, and we invite any inquiries in this regard.”

There are approximately 25 million small businesses in the U.S. today. As the leading source of employment growth, these firms have generated 60-80 percent of net new jobs over the past decade and are responsible for developing most of the country’s new technologies. To be eligible to participate in SBIR, a small business must have fewer than 500 employees, and at least 51 percent of the business must be owned by U.S. citizens.

EPA is also requesting applications for the development of new environmental technologies. The application deadline is May 11.

More information:

- EPA's Small Business Innovation Research program and applying for funds: (

Recent SBIR awards (

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