KLAW Industries, a local business co-founded by a Binghamton University alumnus, has just won a $500,000 dollar grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The business was awarded the grant as a result of a competitive application process that took place last summer, according to Jacob Kumpon ‘22, chief operating officer of KLAW Industries, The grant builds off of a $100,000 phase one award, previously given to the company by the EPA.
The money will be used to expand the company’s operations in the City of Binghamton, as well as to further the production of a material called Pantheon, which was developed by KLAW Industries and is currently being used in the City of Binghamton.
Jack Lamuraglia, co-founder of KLAW Industries, described — in a statement along with Kumpon — the positive impact the grant will have on the company’s operations and Pantheon development.
“We will utilize the funding to expand our operations on Griswold Street in the City of Binghamton,” Kumpon and Lamuraglia wrote in an email. “The City of Binghamton has been using our material, Pantheon, in curb and sidewalk upgrades, and we aim to scale to support these projects.”
The grant is a part of the EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which supports small businesses developing products that utilize innovative environmental technologies. The grant is given in two phases, with phase one being “proof of concept”, where businesses are given $100,000 and six months to commercialize and develop the product.
If successful, businesses can then apply for an additional $400,000. Participants must submit their proposals to a certain environmental category, according to the EPA website. KLAW Industries submitted their proposal in the categories of air quality, sustainability and homeland security.
Kumpon and Lamuraglia said the grant not only helps the development of the Pantheon material, but also highlights the environmental impact it has.
“This funding will have a major impact on the development of Pantheon,” Kumpon and Lamuraglia wrote. “This funding is a significant validation of the impact KLAW Industries, the City of Binghamton and our local concrete producer, Barney & Dickenson, are having on our environment.”
KLAW Industries was founded in 2019 by Kumpon, Lamuraglia and Tanner Wallis. The founders originally got the idea for Pantheon when touring recycling plants, where they realized that many problems existed with post-consumer glass.
They also discovered that concrete producers were struggling with supplementary cementitious materials (SCM), according to KLAW Industries’ website. According to KLAW Industries’ founders, Pantheon costs less than the next cheapest cement replacement.
Saqqara Madden, a junior majoring in electrical engineering, said she felt the expansion of the eco-friendly Pantheon was one of the most important aspects of the grant.
“Yeah, that’s definitely good if they’re creating a new material that could be environmentally safer and more efficient,” Madden said. “I think that’s good if it’s better for the environment.”
Pantheon is a material made by repurposing consumer glass, and aims to improve the eco-friendliness of concrete. The product allows for 1,000 pounds of carbon emissions per truck to avoid release into the atmosphere, according to KLAW Industries’ website. In addition, the finished mixture keeps the same strength as normal concrete.
Kelly Friedel, a sophomore majoring in geology, said the environmental innovation shown by KLAW Industries was promising.
“Yeah I like seeing innovation put in the right direction,” Friedel said. “So long as the environment is not super skewed by whatever’s happening, I’m okay with it. The amount of money is a lot of money.”
Kumpon and Lamuraglia both said they are enthusiastic about the future opportunities the award will give them in furthering their work with Binghamton.
“We are incredibly excited about this award and the opportunity to work with the City of Binghamton to continue high-performance, low-carbon concrete deployment,” Kumpon and Lamuraglia wrote.