Montana-based Bridger Photonics has received a grant of $345,000 from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a carbon dioxide sensor for on-site monitoring and spatial mapping.

This grant awarded under the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, is part of $2.5m EPA is providing to 11 companies to support work in eight key environmental areas such as monitoring and control of air emissions, biofuels, green buildings, drinking water monitoring, hazardous waste monitoring, water infrastructure, homeland security, nanotechnology and innovation in manufacturing.

The companies received ‘proof of concept’ awards from EPA last year and will use these additional funds to move their technologies towards commercialization.

According to EPA, the current monitoring technologies are limited, and involve on-site scans of possible emissions sources by sampling emitted gases with measurement devices. No technology exists that can measure and pinpoint the location of elevated CO2 concentrations from a distance.

To address this need, Bridger Photonics is developing an inexpensive, compact sensor with high-range resolution for on-site CO2 monitoring and spatial mapping from a distance, EPA said.

According to the agency, the sensor can be used to spatially scan CO2 sequestration or industrial sites for leaks and to provide precise 3D coordinate mappings of emissions sources. The device is based on a new technology developed by the company during a Phase I project under the SBIR program. Phase II objectives include designing and testing a preliminary prototype device.

Jim Martin, regional administrator of EPA in Denver, said: “Bridger Photonics is part of an emerging breed of Montana businesses that are poised to help meet a growing demand for environmental technologies. In addition to offering promising solutions to environmental challenges, these businesses represent sources of jobs and revenue that strengthen our communities.”