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EPA and the Venture Capital Community: Building Bridges to
  Commercialize Technology NACEPT Report Recommends Actions for EPA to Achieve More Private Sector Investment in Environmental Technologies

The National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT), (an independent advisory committee to EPA), has released a new report identifying actions that EPA and the investment community can take and partnerships they can create to achieve greater long-term private sector investment in the commercialization of new environmental technologies.

NACEPT, a balanced panel of representatives from academia, business and industry, nongovernmental organizations, and state, local and tribal governments, advises the EPA Administrator on a broad range of environmental policy, technology and management issues. In 2004 NACEPT was asked by the EPA Administrator Michael Leavitt to investigate two questions:

How can EPA better optimize its environmental technology programs to make them more effective?

What other programs should the Agency undertake to achieve this goal?

NACEPT has researched answers to these questions and has published its analyses in a series of three reports. The current report, EPA and the Venture Capital Community: Building Bridges to Commercialize Technology (100 pp, 1.89 MB), April 2008, is the third in the series. The Subcommittee's other two earlier reports on environmental technology are: EPA Technology Programs: Engaging the Marketplace (72 pp, 1.29 MB), and EPA Technology Programs and Intra-Agency Coordination (56 pp, 806 K).

The current report states that:

“Stimulating private-sector investment in new technologies is among the most important initiatives EPA can undertake…”

“ The global need for solutions exceeds the fiscal capacity of any government”,

“ The commercial market may be able to mobilize and invest immense resources of private capital to develop and diffuse technologies rapidly.”

NACEPT also indicated that the US no longer holds a position of environmental technology dominance in the marketplace. NACEPT reflects on the early days of EPA where it had embarked on impressive research and development programs—opening laboratories, funding university research, and conducting pilot and demonstration programs. However many of these programs were reduced or discontinued, causing a loss of some of its technical excellence and environmental leadership.

NACEPT reported that it is time for EPA to restore its powerful vision of a clean and healthy world, by declaring an even more energetic and visionary commitment to technology discovery, verification, and commercialization of innovative approaches to protecting health and the environment. Such a commitment is essential to solve the enormous environmental challenges posed by climate change, releases of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases, the impacts of diminishing resources, nanotechnology and new products, and other issues.

NACEPT interviewed nine leading representatives from the investment community who routinely review opportunities for targeting early-stage environmental technologies. Together, they represent a valuable perspective on some key trends that dominate this investment market.

Based on the nine interviews, and the experiences of the NACEPT Work Group members, NACEPT asked EPA to consider six recommendations and venture capital investors to consider four recommendations:

Key Recommendations for EPA

  1. Recognize carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases, and climate change-related pollutants as pollutants that are addressed in Goal 1 of EPA’s Strategic Plan and take priority measures to establish standards and long-term regulations for these pollutants.
  2. Forge and sustain communications with the early-stage investment community.
  3. Strengthen financial support (e.g., loan guarantees, grants, revolving loan funds) and reduce regulatory risks for new technology development during the commercialization period.
  4. Take steps to streamline permitting for commercial scale-up of new, innovative environmental technologies.
  5. Enforce environmental regulations consistently to clarify needs and avoid uncertainty.
  6. Support metrics and monitoring of new technologies.

Key Recommendations for the Venture Capital Community

  1. Collaborate with EPA to establish metrics and monitoring strategies for new technologies to measure and document demonstrated actual performance of these technologies.
  2. Participate in environmental technology verification programs and EPA supported metrics and monitoring programs.
  3. Encourage communication and interaction among technology developers, investors, and EPA.
  4. Provide opportunities for EPA to financially support promising new environmental technologies through existing and new financial support programs.

View Reports:

EPA and the Venture Capital Community: Building Bridges to Commercialize Technology
EPA and the Venture Capital Community: Building Bridges to Commercialize Technology (100 pp, 1.89 MB)
EPA Technology Programs: Engaging the  Marketplace
EPA Technology Programs: Engaging the Marketplace (72 pp, 1.29 MB)
EPA Technology Programs and Intra-Agency Coordination
EPA Technology Programs and Intra-Agency Coordination (56 pp, 806 K)
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