Steamboat company lands $100K award from EPA to develop monitor
October 3, 2017
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A Steamboat Springs small business was among 14 across the United States that earned a share of $1.6 million in funding to develop technologies that will help protect human health and environment from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Michael Kimble said his business, Reactive Innovations, was awarded $100,000 from the EPA's Small Business Innovation Research program to develop an inexpensive, hand-held monitor for measuring fugitive methane emissions. He said methane gas has a greater impact on climate change than carbon dioxide
"We hear a lot about carbon dioxide, but methane is also pretty bad with its impact on climate change," Kimble said. "The U.S. government in particular has spent a lot of money to develop better monitors and sensors to measure methane to determine where it is leaking, and how much."
What the EPA is looking for is an expensive and convenient way for agencies to identify where the leak is and then to quantify just how much methane is being released.
"Once you know the estimations, you can either design mitigation technologies or impose a fee of fines depending on how much methane has been released," Kimble said.
That's where Reactive Innovations enters the picture. The company will use the money from the EPA to begin the process of producing the monitor that can be used in oil fields, refineries and around pipelines where methane gas leaks are known to exist.
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"They have expensive laser and optic-based sensors that cost $5,000 to $20,000 that are very good at pinpointing these things but they are very expensive," Kimble said. "What the EPA wants is a bunch of small handheld sensors that cost like 50 to 100 bucks. That way you can have a bunch of sensors instead of having one $10,000 laser-based sensors to detect methane.”
Kimble founded Reactive Innovations in 2003 in Massachusetts, but three years ago, he moved the company’s headquarters to Steamboat Springs.
"I've been coming to Steamboat Springs the past 14 years and really enjoyed the Steamboat lifestyle," he said.
He currently has two employees in Colorado and five in Massachusetts. The company is a specialty research and development firm that focuses on solving critical U.S. government needs in the clean technology and advanced materials sectors.