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EPA Grant Update: Phase 1 of SBIR Research Nearing Completion

Updated: Oct 17, 2022

In December of 2021, we made the announcement that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced more than $3 million in funding to 30 American small businesses, including $99,950 for Ohio Lumex in Solon, Ohio, to develop novel technologies to address pressing environmental and public health problems.

We developed a plan to investigate a new method for measuring toxic metals emitted into the air by certain industries such as power plants, incinerators and smelters. The proposed technology would involve the use of specially designed emissions monitoring systems called “sorbent traps,” which will enable facilities and regulators to measure the emission of multiple toxic metals at the same time. If the project is successful and the new air monitoring method is adopted by EPA, the method may be used by EPA’s state, local, tribal and industry partners to confirm facility compliance with Clean Air Act requirements that help protect people’s health.

At the time of publication of this blog, we are nearing the end of Phase I SBIR research, which is the proof of concept.

So far, all testing indicates we have at least one good prototype for a HAP metals sorbent trap. Two other materials are undergoing parallel evaluation, and by the end of Phase I we could potentially have three candidate sorbent traps which will be subject to further evaluation during Phase II. Having several options for sorbent trap material and design means there’s a reduced risk of failure during Phase II evaluations.

All candidate sorbent traps follow the PS 12B model, with three sections of sorbent material (primary capture, breakthrough, and spike recovery). Proof of concept studies have indicated good performance for one material so far, and by the end of Phase I we will have a more detailed understanding of the performance of three materials.

In parallel to the Phase II testing, which involves sampling combustion flue gas, these sorbent traps will also be used to collect and measure metals in gaseous fuels. The applications for the metals sorbent trap are varied and numerous, and this new method will likely be rolled out to different industries at different times, based on how rapidly research and development efforts prove satisfactory performance.

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