Vartega Awarded Competitive Grant from the National Science Foundation

 
 

Vartega Awarded Competitive Grant from the National Science Foundation

Small Business Innovation Research Program Provides Seed Funding for R&D

GOLDEN, CO, April 30 – Vartega has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $224,998 to conduct research and development (R&D) work on carbon fiber reinforced polymer powders for additive manufacturing applications.

Vartega is leveraging its carbon fiber recycling technology and material development expertise to advance polymer feedstocks for powder bed fusion additive manufacturing. Vartega is developing a novel process that will allow thermoplastic powders to be reinforced with carbon fiber while ensuring these materials will produce functional parts in infrared additive systems. This advancement will enable digital manufacturers to realize the full potential of new powder-based hardware platforms to produce parts that perform similarly to injection molded materials at medium volume production rates.

“The National Science Foundation supports startups and small businesses with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have the potential to become great commercial successes and make huge societal impacts,” said Graciela Narcho, Acting Director of Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. “We hope that seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time across all areas of science and technology.”

"Vartega is excited to bring advancements to powder bed fusion printing platforms through development in our novel additive materials,” said Alice Havill, Chief Operating Officer at Vartega. “By offering carbon fiber reinforced polymer powders, manufacturers in sectors like UAV and medical prosthetics will realize the benefits of fast, complex and customized 3D printing, while ensuring that their material selection will exhibit the structural integrity required for their product."

Once a small business is awarded a Phase I SBIR/STTR grant (up to $225,000), it becomes eligible to apply for a Phase II grant (up to $750,000). Small businesses with Phase II grants are eligible to receive up to $500,000 in additional matching funds with qualifying third-party investment or sales.

NSF accepts Phase I proposals from small businesses twice annually in June and December. Small businesses with innovative science and technology solutions, and commercial potential are encouraged to apply. All proposals submitted to the NSF SBIR/STTR program undergo a rigorous merit-based review process.

To learn more about America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF, visit: https://seedfund.nsf.gov/

About Vartega: Vartega is a recycler of advanced materials – specifically strong and lightweight carbon fiber. We are cultivating a sustainable future through the development of enabling technologies designed to preserve resources and achieve systematic sustainability. Our modular patent-pending carbon fiber recycling process scales easily to address a gap in the composites supply chain. Vartega’s carbon fiber and specialty thermoplastics are used in sporting goods, additive manufacturing, oil & gas, and vehicle lightweighting. Learn more at www.vartega.com

About the National Science Foundation's Small Business Programs: America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $1.5 million in non-dilutive funds to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $8.1 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.

VARTEGA Wins Competitive Grant to Expand Its Recycling Program and Help Grow Colorado’s Economy

VARTEGA Wins Competitive Grant to Expand Its
Recycling Program and Help Grow Colorado’s Economy

State-sponsored grants divert waste from landfills and create new green-sector jobs

Golden, CO (April 30, 2019) – Vartega, Inc (Vartega) has been awarded a $25,000 grant in recognition of plans to expand its recycling program and create new green-sector jobs. The funding is part of the Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity (RREO) competitive grant program, which is administered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

Colorado has made strides when it comes to diverting trash from landfills by reducing, reusing and recycling waste, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. According to CDPHE, in 2007 the state diverted only about 7 percent of the nearly 10 million tons of household and commercial trash generated that year. Seven years later, those numbers have improved as 11 percent of roughly 9 million tons of waste was diverted from landfills in 2014. Yet Colorado still lags well behind the national average of 35 percent for waste diversion.

The RREO grant program gives for-profit, nonprofit, and local entities the infusion of funds they need to expand access to recycling and help Colorado surpass the national average. However, grantees must demonstrate more than a plan for better managing waste. Each must also show how it will help build local economies and create permanent jobs for Coloradans who are ready to get to work.

“The funds we receive through this RREO grant will help us do more to keep high value advanced materials like thermoset and thermoplastic composites out of landfills,” says Andrew Maxey, Vartega CEO. “As an RREO grant recipient, Vartega will be using the funds to invest in shredding equipment to enable the reuse of thermoplastic composite scrap and waste generated from industries such as additive manufacturing/3D printing, aerospace, drone production, and sporting goods.”

Vartega is building on more than $11.5 million in RREO grant funds that have gone to making a positive impact on the quality of life in towns, cities and regions across Colorado. The shredding equipment enabled through this grant will also be used for the AMIDE Alliance, a collaboration between public and private partners dedicated to closing the gap in advanced materials development for additive manufacturing. The AMIDE Alliance was founded in 2018 through an initiative funded by another state program, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade’s Advanced Industries Collaborative Infrastructure Grant.

“We are pleased to recognize Vartega for its dedication and commitment to reducing the amount of waste sent to Colorado landfills and creating new jobs in the local economy,” said Eric Heyboer, RREO Grant Program administrator at CDPHE.  “Through our RREO grants, we incentivize partnerships that are a win-win for Colorado’s economy and the environment and this project exemplifies that mission,” said Eric Heyboer, RREO Grant Program administrator at CDPHE.   

A recent study commissioned by CDPHE titled Economic Study of Recycling in Colorado revealed that the state’s recycling industry sustains more than 85,000 jobs and accounts for approximately 5 percent of Colorado’s overall economic output. This generates nearly $1.3 billion per year in state and local tax revenue.

For more information about Vartega, please visit www.vartega.com. For more information about RREO grants, visit www.colorado.gov/cdphe/recyclinggrantrebates.

About Vartega, Inc

Vartega is a recycler of advanced materials – specifically strong and lightweight carbon fiber. We are cultivating a sustainable future through the development of enabling technologies designed to preserve resources and achieve systematic sustainability. Our modular patent-pending carbon fiber recycling process scales easily to address a gap in the composites supply chain. Vartega’s carbon fiber and specialty thermoplastics are used in sporting goods, additive manufacturing, oil & gas, and vehicle lightweighting.

 

About the RREO Grant Program

The Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity Act (HB 07-1288) created the RREO Grant Program with the intent to fund implementation projects that promote economic development through the productive management of recyclable materials that would otherwise be treated as discards. Projects that meet this goal are designed to implement recycling, composting, anaerobic digestion, source reduction, and beneficial use/reuse for a wide variety of materials. Funds are awarded to businesses, local governments, nonprofit groups, and schools and universities throughout Colorado. The grant program is under the authority of Colorado’s Pollution Prevention Advisory Board.

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Vartega selected for Colorado NextCycle Program

Eric Heyboer, Recycling Grants Administrator

DENVER— The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has chosen nine teams for the Colorado NextCycle program. During the open application period late last year, teams from around North America pitched recycled material end-market business ideas for the Colorado marketplace.

The nine teams selected for the first-of-its-kind pilot program will each receive a $5,000 business development grant, mentoring from the Colorado NextCycle technical advisory committee, and technical support from RRS, the recycling and sustainability consulting firm assisting with the Colorado NextCycle program. The support will help the chosen teams further refine their recovered/recycled material end-market business ideas. They will pitch their ideas at the state’s largest recycling conference in June and will have the ability to submit their business ideas for the 2019 department grant cycle for funding to implement their business proposals in Colorado.

"I am so excited to see companies develop bold and innovative ways to reduce waste," said the department's Executive Director Jill Hunsaker Ryan. "Colorado NextCycle provides the technical and financial support needed to turn great ideas into reality, and that's a win for all of us."

The nine teams include:

9Fiber

  • Headquartered: Silver Spring, Maryland

  • End-Market Business Proposal: Engineer and build a processing plant in Pueblo, Colorado, for transforming hemp and cannabis waste stalk and stems into fiber for use in textile, absorbent, industrial, bioplastic, semi-conductor, carbon-fiber, construction, fuel and automotive applications.

Direct Polymers

  • Headquartered: Denver

  • End-Market Business Proposal: Add the ability to wash, blend and pelletize difficult-to-recycle plastic streams containing labels, liquids, dirt and other contaminates at an existing Commerce City facility.

Ekomats

  • Headquartered: Netherlands/Chelsea, Vermont

  • End-Market Business Proposal: Identify second North American site to manufacture ekomats, a multipurpose mat made of recycled #4 LDPE plastic film waste used in construction, residential, industrial and various service industries.

Natural Buildings Innovation

  • Headquartered: Gunnison, Colorado

  • End-Market Business Proposal: Research and marketing to scale existing operations receiving, retrieving and processing standing dead trees into custom wood products and building materials for the local economy.

Renewlogy

  • Headquartered: Salt Lake City

  • End-Market Business Proposal: Feasibility study for new facility in Colorado for converting plastic waste from material recovery facilities and municipal drop-off locations into fuel products and feedstocks.

Resolar

  • Headquartered: to be determined

  • End-Market Business Proposal: Site facility in Colorado for refurbishing end-of-life solar panels for resale to nonprofits, indigenous tribes, companies that build off-grid systems and do-it-yourselfers.

San Juan Organics

  • Headquartered: Durango, Colorado

  • End-Market Business Proposal: Research to develop business and site plan for an aggregation and processing facility to create local organic compost and soil amendments from organic scrap.

Spring Back Colorado

  • Headquartered: Commerce City, Colorado

  • End-Market Business Proposal: Feasibility of operating a steel shredding machine in existing Commerce City location to allow for in-house shredding of steel mattress coils into acceptable end-market form and potential for receiving and processing coils from other mattress recyclers.

Vartega

  • Headquartered: Golden, Colorado

  • End-Market Business Proposal: Identify thermoplastic and carbon fiber waste streams for reforming/repurposing material into an engineered composite manufacturing feedstock for use in the automotive, sporting goods and 3D printing industries.

For more information, access the Colorado NextCycle web page.