Indoor Formaldehyde Detection by a Low-Cost Chemical Sensor Based on Organic Nanofibers

EPA Contract Number: EPD17032
Title: Indoor Formaldehyde Detection by a Low-Cost Chemical Sensor Based on Organic Nanofibers
Investigators: Later, Douglas W
Small Business: Vaporsens, Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 2017 through February 28, 2018
Project Amount: $100,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2017) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Air and Climate , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


Need: Formaldehyde comes from a number of indoor sources and is carcinogenic. Vaporsens is offering a sensor capable of detecting formaldehyde at low concentrations (50 ppb) at an affordable price point (~$100).

Technical Feasibility: Vaporsens organic nanofiber have been developed for a number of applications, including detecting explosives, narcotics, toxic industrial chemicals, and chemical warfare agents. Sensors demonstrated high sensitivity (down to low parts per trillion) and minimal interference from the environment.

Applications: formaldehyde monitoring in homes and manufacturing facilities, formaldehyde measurements for quantifying air pollution

Users: consumers, manufacturers, regulators, government, environmental researchers

Evidence of Willing Buyers: Vaporsens has conducted over 200 interviews with potential customers. Many require the ability to detect formaldehyde at low concentrations.

Potential Market Size: $4B is the estimated current market for indoor air quality monitoring in the U.S.

Performance Compared to Other Technologies: Certain technologies (e.g., electrochemical cells) meet performance requirements, but not at the required price point. Vaporsens will deliver comparable performance at a lower cost.

Environmental Benefits: Fromaldehyde monitoring indoors could alert building occupants to take action when concentration exceeds a certain threshold to create a cleaner indoor environment. Increased consumer awareness might lead industry to decrease use of formaldehyde, reducing overall emissions.

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report
  • SBIR Phase II:

    Indoor Formaldehyde Detection by a Low-Cost Chemical Sensor BasedonOrganic Nanofibers