Handheld System for Detection of TCE and PCEEPA Contract Number: EPD11068
Title: Handheld System for Detection of TCE and PCE
Investigators: Lewis, Patrick R.
Small Business: Defiant Technologies, Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Project Period: May 1, 2011 through April 30, 2013
Project Amount: $225,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2011) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Nanotechnology
Defiant Technologies builds and markets chemical detectors and it is developing a portable system to measure trace amounts of perchloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE) in ground water. This GC-based system will provide onsite results and reduce the need for time consuming and costly laboratory tests. In Phase I, Defiant demonstrated the fundamental technology. Defiant captured analytes of interest in a nanoporous material on a micro-preconcentrator and rapidly injected it into a micro-GC column. The GC adequately separated the constituents for identification on a low-cost micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMs)-based microbalance in less than 60 seconds.
A market assessment by Foresight Science and Technology Services confirmed the need for this product and the potential revolutionary impact that a truly field-portable detection system could have on the water testing and soil remediation industry.
In Phase II, Defiant will move from proof-of-concept to product realization. The components will be integrated into a system and the performance will be optimized through a combination of laboratory and field testing. Improvements will be made in coating the MEMs components to provide consistent behavior. A longer GC-column will be integrated into the system for better analyte separation. Electronics and firmware for the micro-balance detector will be revised to conform to a field-portable system. There also will be a major focus on packaging and user interface to produce a system that is rugged, reliable, and easy to use and maintain. Testing will have a significant role in this Phase II effort to insure that the system provides accurate results under a wide range of conditions both in terms of the environment and the skill level of the operator.
Defiant will subcontract with Foresight to further refine its previous market assessment. This work will include a refinement of the price-point for the product and a more in-depth study of the market potential. The intent of this work is to provide the basis for a compelling argument to investors who eventually will be needed to bring this product to production and market.
Finally, a commercialization option is provided that investigates the development of a down-hole system for in situ well monitoring. Previous work with an environmental consulting firm indicated that there was a significant market opportunity for such a system and that Defiant’s technology was more suitable than any other to meet the size constraints. Funds can be obtained to further this development if a sound design is developed and sufficient testing is performed to demonstrate feasibility.