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: Richards, April
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 Montreal Protocol eliminated the manufacture of chlorofluorocarbons that cause chemical depletion of the ozone layer calling for replacement for the gaseous fire-extinguishing agents, halons. Replacement gases proved to have problems from generation of toxic byproducts to poor fire suppression capability. Powsus, Inc., developed and patented an environmentally friendly powder enhancement to these replacement gases, Envirogel, that demonstrates fire suppression levels equal to or better than the halons without the toxic byproducts. The application of this EPA SNAP approved extinguishant has been evaluated in Phase I in a novel patented distribution system that stores the agent in a tough, light-weight pressure vessel plastic tube that bursts when exposed to increased temperature and increased pressures, releasing the agent for fire suppression. Phase I provided evaluation of at least two types of plastic tubes that can be successfully utilized for inexpensive, automatic extinguishment of fires in contained areas such as engine compartments and cargo containers when designed for their specific operating conditions. This technology applies globally to high fire risk conditions of all kinds, fuel fire hazards (engines), or material storage. The fire protection industry is a controlled industry. For commercialization to occur, the application of this new technology must be demonstrated and verified in Phase II with the recognized regulatory fire agencies, UL, FM, EN3 (Europe), and USCG.

The basic Phase II development effort would be to confirm the Phase I success with long-term aging of product configurations: plastics and agents for permeability, high- and low- temperature operation, accelerated aging, fire suppression minimums, fire type capability, corrosion, and any other criteria for commercial acceptance that the testing agencies desire. Because there are no existing standards for this unique product, new standards will have to be established with the approval agencies.

Phase I enabled the evaluation and development of several modified plastics that appear capable of surviving prolonged elevated ambient engine temperature environments. Extinguishing capabilities were established as were certain physical capabilities such as burst pressures, high-temperature exposure, and failure. Engine fire scenarios were evaluated and a simulator was developed from data on an over-the-road school bus and tested for extinguisher response times and suppression. Phase II will help finance the creation of safe, commercially viable, automatic fire extinguishing systems for the global protection of engines in cars, boats, trains, trucks, cargo containers, and many other fire hazards that do not exist today.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, ozone depleting compounds, fire suppression, halons, ozone depletion, EPA., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Toxics, Air, 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

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report

  • 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