Tech

Billerica business earns EPA grant for innovative technology – Lowell Sun

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BILLERICA — A local business’ innovative work could help the Environmental Protection Agency monitor a hazardous air pollutant.

In March, the EPA announced it was providing a total of $2.3 million in funding for 23 small businesses across the country to develop technologies to protect the environment and human health. Among the 23 businesses to receive a grant was Aerodyne Research Inc.

Located on 45 Manning Road, Aerodyne Research was the only Massachusetts business to receive a grant.

This year’s grant recipients are developing technologies that focus on a range of issues including clean and safe water, air-quality monitoring, land revitalization, homeland security, sustainable-materials management and safer chemicals, according to an EPA news release.

Funding from the grant will help Aerodyne Research develop an ethylene oxide monitor with an ultra-low limit of detection.

Ethylene oxide, or EtO, is a flammable, colorless gas with a range of uses. It is used to make antifreeze, textiles, adhesives and the like. It is also used to sterilize equipment and plastic devices that cannot be sterilized by steam, according to the EPA.

“Our optical technology is direct, sensitive and selective in the measurement of EtO without the need for sample collection, preconcentration or any other sample preparation,” an online description of Aerodyne’s project reads.

State and federal EPA offices, other environmental agencies, and industrial EtO producers and consumers will use the technology, the description said.

With a staff of 76, Aerodyne “provides research and development (R&D) services and advanced sensor and software products to industrial, academic and government customers addressing national and international challenges,” according to the company’s website.

According to the EPA news release, the small businesses will receive up to $100,000 in Phase I funding through the Small Business Innovation Research program. Those companies will then be eligible to compete for additional funding up to $400,000. This Phase II funding will allow recipients to further “develop and commercialize their technology.”

“EPA’s Small Business funding supports our economy and opens doors to further environmental protection by fostering and encouraging small businesses to bring groundbreaking technologies to market,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in the press release. “With EPA funding, these entrepreneurs will be able to develop their ideas to address priority EPA issues ranging from cleaning up PFAS contamination to reducing food waste.”

Aerodyne Research did not respond to a request for comment.

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