A small technology firm in Wilmington, Del., has won national recognition for developing an innovative method for reducing air pollution from gasoline pumping stations. The technology is expected to help California meet its goals for clean air.
Compact Membrane Systems, Inc., with the help of funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has developed a technology that captures 99 percent of gasoline vapors that otherwise would escape from gas pumps and underground storage tanks. For its technology achievement and pioneering research, the company received the prestigious Tibbetts Award today – recognition by the U.S. Small Business Administration as one of the nation’s best small businesses performing innovative research.
“All of us want to breathe clean air,” said Stephen L. Johnson, EPA’s administrator. “This technology takes a simple idea to a sophisticated level that eliminates gasoline waste at the pump, lowers pollution, and saves money – what a great combination!”
Gasoline emissions create smog, are a loss of a nonrenewable resource, and are an unnecessary cost to the station owner. The California Air Resources Board has mandated that 13,000 gasoline stations throughout the state must install certified vapor recovery equipment by April 2009. Currently, Compact Membrane Systems has the only technology to be certified for use at approximately 11,500 of these stations, a determination that California’s air board is poised to announce soon in an executive order.
Through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, EPA funded $70,000 to Compact Membrane Systems as seed money to prove that its gasoline vapor recovery technology could work. Another $225,000 from EPA helped the company move its technology to the marketplace. In all, EPA has provided about $2 million in SBIR grants to Compact Membrane for research and development of various technologies.
EPA is one of 11 federal agencies that participate in the SBIR program, enacted in 1982 to strengthen the role of small businesses in federal research and development, create jobs, and promote U.S. technical innovation. EPA selects and funds projects that can improve our environment and quality of life.