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Nanotech Company Gets $300K Grant

Thursday, November 13, 2014

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A small California-based nanotechnology company has received $300,000 in federal funding to further develop innovative polymers for use in sustainable wood coatings.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) grant Wednesday (Nov. 12).

Instrumental Polymer Technologies LLC, of Westlake Village, CA, was among nine small businesses in the U.S. to share in $2.7 million in second-round funding awarded, according to the EPA.

wood
©iStock.com / Bigandt Photography

Instrumental Polymer Technologies LLC plans to develop the concept into a marketable raw material product which is cheaper than alkyds, but with performance equivalent to that of polyurethane coatings.

The SBIR program focuses on energy-efficient and affordable developments. It provides funding in two phases. In the first phase, proposals are submitted by companies and, after undergoing a competitive selection process, they can receive up to $100,000 in funding for proof of concept.

Successful Phase I companies that want to participate in Phase II must go through a second competitive process to receive up to $300,000 for two years.

Raw Material Development

Instrumental Polymer Technologies developed a process to produce low-cost, no emission polymers from sustainable materials into water-based wood coatings, reducing the environmental impact of wood coatings, EPA said.

Specifically, the company demonstrated “the synthesis of high molecular weight dendrimers with a core of tough polycarbonate and with soy methyl ester, otherwise known as common biodiesel, attached to the dendrimer’s surface,” according to project information.

Also, amino acids were bound to the core to achieve water dispersibility, the literature noted.

green chemistry
iStock.com / VIPDesignUSA

“The small businesses receiving awards... [bring a] unique vision for addressing complex environmental issues like reducing harmful emissions to create a cleaner environment and enhancing recycling processes,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

“With viscosity only slightly higher than oil, the dendrimers had the unique property of being able to be applied as 100 percent solids, but easily dispersed in water for easy cleanup,” the project details stated. Air-dried films had properties nearing that of polyurethane coatings.

They also were found to create "a uniquely smooth, high gloss finish that will reduce sanding and buffing steps," project information detailed.

To Market

Throughout Phase II, the company plans to develop the concept into a marketable product which is cheaper than alkyds, but with performance equivalent to that of polyurethane coatings.

The resulting dendrimers are to be marketed as a raw material to wood coatings producers.

Several coatings manufacturers have already shown interest in sampling the technology, according to project information.

Other Award Winners

Additional award winners include National Recovery Technologies LLC., a small business that produced a low cost technology to recycle electronics; and Imaging Systems Technology, a small business that developed a highly efficient, versatile water purification system.

More information on the SBIR Phase II awards: www.epa.gov/ncer/2014SBIRphase2awards.

   

Tagged categories: Coating chemistry; EPA; Funding; Grants; Research

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