Final Report: System to Deliver Halon Equivalent, Hydrogen Fluoride Controlled, Supplemented HFC Gases in Fire Sensitive, Light Weight, Plastic Extinguishers

EPA Contract Number: 68D01066
Title: System to Deliver Halon Equivalent, Hydrogen Fluoride Controlled, Supplemented HFC Gases in Fire Sensitive, Light Weight, Plastic Extinguishers
Investigators: MacElwee, Donald B.
Small Business: Powsus Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: II
Project Period: September 1, 2001 through September 1, 2003
Project Amount: $224,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2001) Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Pollution Prevention , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


The goal of this research project was to develop the commercialization of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Significant New Alternatives Policy Program-approved halon replacement enhanced fire extinguishing gas, Envirogel, contained in fire-sensitive plastic tubes, Firetubes, for use in fire-protection situations by gaining the required approvals of the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). During this project, Powsus, Inc., attracted the attention of key distributors of fire-protection products to the cost and physical advantages of the product so that sales, marketing, and production of the product can begin upon receipt of UL and USGS approvals.

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

During this research project, Powsus found that it was necessary to improve the quality of the plastic by: (1) heat stabilizing it with specific additives, (2) tightening control of extrusion for uniformity of performance, (3) milling the plastic in certain spots to direct the agent where desired, (4) changing the mix of gases used to achieve previously unknown parameters, and (5) finding more than one source of extrusion for continued assured performance. As a new product, more tests than normal have been proscribed and more time than anticipated has been required. As a result, Powsus believes that it will offer a better product to more areas requiring fire protection than are now served. The areas now designated include marine engines; car, bus and truck engines; residential and industrial furnaces; and hazardous material containers of many types. Because no standards previously have been set for automobile engine protection, Powsus is asking the UL to establish new testing procedures that would be above or beyond the presently proscribed tests for marine engines. To do so, Powsus has received encouragement from the Society of Automotive Engineers, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and the National Fire Protection Agency. Most importantly, approximately three-fourths of the companies involved in marine fire protection in the United States have approached Powsus about exclusivity agreements for marketing and distribution of the product when UL and USCG approvals are received.


A National Fire Protection Agency study shows that there is an average of 300,000 car fires annually, which cause more than $600,000,000 in damages. There is no present automatic protection for car engines or passengers in those cars. Residential furnaces cause 22 percent of all household fires. Marine engines are the main cause of boat fires. Current automatic fire protection for boats is comparatively expensive and cumbersome when compared to the Firetubes that have a twice-as-effective, patented halon replacement agent inside an inexpensive, patented plastic tube that automatically ruptures when and where the heat first attacks it at a predetermined temperature. Powsus believes that there is a worldwide market for these products with little or no apparent present competition. The product liability protection resulting from the UL and USCG listing and rating programs is not only a prerequisite for insurance purposes, but also is a protection against irresponsible imitators.

Supplemental Keywords:

halon, ozone, fire-protection product, Underwriters Laboratories, U.S. Coast Guard, boat engine, car engine, Envirogel, Firetube, SBIR, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Toxics, Sustainable Industry/Business, Chemical Engineering, air toxics, Sustainable Environment, climate change, Technology for Sustainable Environment, CFCs, New/Innovative technologies, tropospheric ozone, Atmospheric Sciences, EPCRA, Environmental Engineering, hydroflurocarbon(HFC), HFC, environmental monitoring, ozone, ozone depletion, global change, halon, halon equivalents, Hydrogen fluoride, fire suppression, ozone depleting chemicals, fire extinguisher, plastic extinguisher, halons

SBIR Phase I:

System To Deliver Halon Equivalent, Hydrogen Fluoride Controlled, Supplemented HFC Gases in Fire Sensitive, Light Weight, Plastic Extinguishers  | 2001 Progress Report  | Final Report