The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted $345,000 to Bridger Photonics, of Bozeman, Montana, 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.

The environmental areas are monitoring and control of air emissions, biofuels, green buildings, drinking water monitoring, hazardous waste monitoring, water infrastructure, homeland security, nanotechnology and advancement in manufacturing.

Bridger Photonics is developing a compact sensor with high-range resolution for on-site CO2 monitoring and spatial mapping from a distance. The sensor can be used to spatially scan CO2 sequestration or industrial sites for leaks and to provide 3D coordinate mappings of emissions sources, the company said.

The device is based on a 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.

EPA’s SBIR program issues solicitations for research proposals from small science and technology firms. Phase I contracts are used to investigate the scientific merit and technical feasibility of a concept, while Phase II contracts are used to develop and commercialize technologies.

Paul Anastas, assistant administrator of office of research and development at EPA, said: ”The health and prosperity of our nation is due to the strength and ingenuity of our small businesses. These grants will help spur innovation from America’s small businesses so they can continue driving our economy and powering our environmental successes.”