EPA Funds Student, Small Biz Innovation


The Environmental Protection Agency is working with students and small businesses around the country to support green building technologies, innovative technologies that protect the environment.

People, Prosperity and the Planet

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the winners of its People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) grant competition—a unique college competition for designing solutions for a sustainable future. P3 offers students quality hands-on experience that brings their classroom learning to life.

The program supports university student teams that propose projects to develop new, sustainable products and strategies. As a Phase I grant recipient, each winning team will receive up to $15,000 for its proposal, EPA said.

Building Materials, Concrete Tech Funded

This year’s grant recipients include a team from the University of California, Riverside, whose “Husk-to-Home” project has a mission to create a proof of concept building material, composed of rice husks and an innovative binding material, to construct durable homes in the Philippines.

Manhattan College also received a grant for a project aimed at determining the efficacy of a new sustainable concrete to alleviate corrosion of steel reinforcement in the presence of chloride.

©iStock.com / pezography

One of the research projects is aimed at developing a new sustainable concrete for commercial and industrial settings.

The sustainable concrete will utilize the mining and milling waste product “chat” as a mineral additive and/or aggregate with positive environmental effects, according to a project description.

Teams from Auburn University, the University of Hawaii, the University of California at Davis, the University of Central Florida and Cornell University also received funding as part of the program. A complete list of grant recipients is available here.

Sustainable Projects

“This year’s P3 teams have created innovative research projects that tackle some of our most pressing environmental and public health challenges,” said Dr. Thomas A. Burke, EPA’s science advisor and deputy assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

“These students have the opportunity to bring their exciting new ideas for innovation in sustainability to life, by expanding their learning experience beyond the classroom.”

Teams selected for Phase I awards also showcase their developments at the National Sustainable Design Expo, held in the spring. Following the Expo, P3 teams compete for Phase II awards of up to $75,000 to further develop their designs and potentially bring them to the marketplace.

Small Business Innovation Research

On Monday (Feb. 29), the EPA announced eight contracts to small businesses funded through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program.

Among those recipients was MesoCoat Inc. of Euclid, OH, whose Development of Zinc Coatings on Steel by CermaClad to Replace Galvanizing Pickling Lines project focuses on developing corrosion-resistant coatings on steel to replace current more hazardous methods.

By Phasmatisnox /CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

One of the SBIR contracts is for a project focusing on developing corrosion-resistant coatings on steel to replace current more hazardous methods.

The company adds that its technology reduces the formation of zinc fumes from a molten zinc bath and eliminates the formation of the waste iron-zinc alloy formed in the sheet galvanizing process.

“The green technologies that these SBIR companies are developing will help us address some of today’s most pressing environmental and public health issues,” said Dr. Thomas A. Burke, EPA’s Science Advisor and Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

The phase II contracts announced today provide the companies $300,000 to further develop and commercialize their products and ideas. Phase II awards are only available to companies that previously submitted research proposals for their innovative technologies and were awarded phase I contracts up to $100,000.

A full list of contract recipients for phase II is available here.

Through the SBIR, the EPA funds many environmentally minded small businesses so they can bring their innovative technologies to market. It is one of 11 federal agencies that participate in the SBIR program, which was enacted in 1982 to strengthen the role of small businesses in federal research and development, create obs and promote U.S. technical innovation.

To be eligible to participate in the SBIR program, a company must be an organized, for-profit U.S. business and have fewer than 500 employees.


Tagged categories: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Environmentally friendly; Funding; Galvanized steel; Grants; Green building; North America; Program/Project Management

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