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Wheat Ridge small business receives EPA research contract

Release Date: 3/10/2005
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      Denver -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that TDA Research Inc., of Wheat Ridge, Colo., received $70,000 from the Small Business Innovation Research contracts program. TDA Research was chosen from a pool of 363 applicants from across the country.

The corrosion of steel has widespread economic and environmental effects with an annual cost exceeding $275 billion. About 49 percent of U.S. steel production goes to replace corroded metal parts and consumer goods. TDA Research, Inc. proposes to develop a nanoparticle additive for steel that inhibits corrosion and does not contain toxic chromate.

Corrosion also has a significant impact on the environment. Structures such as storage tanks, pipelines, ships, railcars, and tanker trucks, which store and/or transport hazardous materials, are frequently damaged by corrosion and can leak their contents into the environment. Corrosion is the leading cause of leaking storage tanks that, in turn, threaten public health and lead to billions of dollars in direct and indirect environmental costs.

Chromate organic coatings are the most effective method of preventing corrosion of metals such as steel. Unfortunately, hexavalent chromate corrosion inhibitors produce their own environmental problems, and their toxic properties are well documented. Furthermore, the removal of chromate-inhibiting coatings by chemical or mechanical means also generates hazardous, chromated waste. Because hexavalent chromates are known carcinogens, their use and disposal is strictly regulated, and they are being banned in some parts of the developed world.

TDA Research’s nanoparticles will have effective corrosion inhibitors anchored to the surface that will be triggered to release when the corrosion process starts. While anchored, the corrosion inhibitors will not leach, but when released, they migrate to arrest corrosion on the metal surfaces. The use of a triggered release from the nanoparticle platform will reduce leaching of the corrosion inhibitor out of the coating and into the environment and increase the effectiveness of the coating. A chromate-free corrosion coating for steel could be used for a range of industries and applications, including automotive, aerospace, bridges, buildings, and military.

The 22 million small businesses in the United States employ about 51 percent of the private work force and develop most of the country’s new technologies. Years ago, Congress recognized the need to strengthen the role of small businesses in federally funded research and development and passes a law creating the Small Business Innovation Research program for businesses with no more than 500 employees. EPA’s highly competitive SBIR program offers critical financial support to small businesses to develop the best, new, innovative technologies. EPA’s SBIR program focuses on important areas related to environmental protection, including clean air and water, hazardous and solid wastes, pollution prevention, remediation, and monitoring,. Recent issues include homeland security, clean-up technologies, and technology solutions for specific environmental needs.

To learn more about these research projects and EPA’s SBIR program, visit:

EPA relies on quality science as the basis for sound policy and decision-making. EPA’s laboratories, research centers, and grantees are building the scientific foundation needed to support the Agency’s mission to safeguard human health and the environment.