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Li-Cor's climate change science wins Tibbetts Award from SBA

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Lincoln's Li-Cor Biosciences, continuing leadership in manufacturing equipment used by scientists studying climate change, is among more than two dozen businesses and individuals receiving a Tibbetts Award for 2015.

The awards, given annually by the Small Business Administration, honor companies and individuals for their achievements in the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs.

Li-Cor is receiving its award for work on a new sensor technology to measure atmospheric gas concentrations. 

Li-Cor Biosciences has provided most of the tools used by scientists around the world to measure exchanges of greenhouse gases between the earth and our atmosphere. The goals for this new device: less power to run, more precise data collection of carbon dioxide concentration in remote parts of the world, and cost less than current models.

The company's instruments and software are also used in more than a hundred countries in studies ranging from plant biology to cancer research, drug discovery and genetics.

The Department of Energy, one of 11 federal agencies that depend on SBIR to solve some of the government's biggest technology problems, asked environmental researchers to find a lower cost means of monitoring carbon dioxide to advance understanding of the processes influencing climate change.

Dayle McDermitt, vice-president for research and development for the company's environmental products group, estimates that more than 80 percent of the measurements examining carbon balance of ecosystems have been made using LI-COR instruments.

"Much of what we now know about how climate change might influence ecosystems comes from data provided by these instruments," McDermitt said in a news release.

Li-Cor and the other winners will be formally recognized June 15 at a White House ceremony and again at the June 16 opening of the National SBIR/STTR Conference.

This is the second year in a row a local company has won a Tibbetts Award. Last year, Pacific Engineering won an award for its work on components of a torpedo defense system.

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Business reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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