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Colorado Springs small business receives EPA research contract

Release Date: 3/10/2005
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      Denver -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that Directed Energy Solutions of Colorado Springs, Colo., received $69,000 from the Small Business Innovation Research contracts program. Directed Energy Solutions was chosen from a pool of 363 applicants from across the country.

Directed Energy Solutions will develop a prototype of a decontamination device designed to protect buildings from chemical and biological attacks. This HVAC-compatible system has the potential to quickly and permanently destroy the chemical or biological agent, have universal utility so the specific chemical or biological agent need not be known, produce no toxic residuals such as ozone, and operate in both standby, called routine purification, and high-power, called attack protection, modes.

The device consists primarily of an oxygen source --air or pure oxygen, a commercially available lamp as the energy source, and a bed of granular material coated with a high-efficiency photosensitizer. The device can be integrated into ductwork to treat fresh or re-circulated air and has many potential commercial applications including fixed or portable air purifiers and air sterilization for hospitals to prevent secondary infections.
In this initial testing, researchers will test the idea using controlled concentrations of materials that simulate chemical weapons agents. This experiment will yield precise, fundamental data that will help design the prototype and predict its performance. Future work will develop a working prototype decontamination device that will be used to remove simulated chemical and biological agents to measure its performance.

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 passed 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.