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EPA Awards $140,000 to Pacific Northwest Businesses to Develop Environmental Technologies

Release Date: 3/9/2005
Contact Information: Jeff Philip
(206) 553-1465

March 9, 2005

EPA today announced the award of more than $2.6 million to 34 small companies nationwide under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Two Pacific Northwest companies, Saigene Corp. of Seattle Washington and Ashland Prototypes of Ashland, Oregon were selected to receive $70,000 each.

Saigene Corporation’s research project will investigate developing an automated biosensor capable of detecting low levels of fecal microorganisms without the need for bacterial culture or DNA testing. Current methods to detect fecal matter include 24 hour cultures or use of elaborate DNA equipment. The final product is envisioned as an automated buoy placed in drinking water inlet sources, swimming waters, and shellfish or other aquaculture growing waters.

The overall goal of Ashland Prototypes’ research project is to develop load-bearing, structural building elements from oriented straw. The production of building elements from surplus straw will help provide low-cost housing in rural areas and reduce greenhouse emissions associated with the production of typical construction materials.

EPA’s highly competitive SBIR program offers critical financial support to small businesses to develop the best, new, innovative technologies. The program spawns commercial ventures that improve our environment and quality of life, create jobs, increase productivity and economic growth, and improve international competitiveness of the country’s technology industry.

Congress recognized the need to strengthen the role of small businesses in federally funded research and development and passed the 1982 law creating the Small Business Innovation Research program for businesses with no more than 500 employees. The SBIR’s next solicitation for developing environmental technologies will open on March 24, 2005 and close on May 25, 2005.

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