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Novel Medium-Pressure Low-Temperature Plasma Disinfector

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0023742
Agency Tracking Number: 0000272723
Amount: $199,928.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: C56-31b
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0002903
Solicitation Year: 2023
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-07-10
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-04-09
Small Business Information
35 Wiggins Ave
Bedford, MA 01730-2345
United States
DUNS: 602959579
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Kathleen Quinlan
 (781) 275-9444
Business Contact
 Michael Kempkes
Phone: (781) 275-9444
Research Institution

C56-31b-272723Every year in the United States, 1 in 44 people fall ill from waterborne diseases, which results in 601,000 emergency department visits, 118,000 hospitalizations, and $3.3 billion in direct healthcare costs. Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection, an alternative method to traditional chlorination, has been proven to inactivate pathogens, including protozoa, by damaging nucleic acids, while leaving behind zero by- products. It is in the public’s interest to investigate alternative scientific solutions applicable across the water and wastewater industry. An electrodeless, mercury-free excimer-based UV water disinfection system will be developed. The proposed effort combines expertise and experience with UV disinfection, plasma processing, and power electronics with commercial capabilities to solve an important and timely nationwide problem—economically disinfecting drinkable water. Excimer lamps have been worked on since the 1980’s, and many facets of the concept have been studied in detail individually, but researchers have rarely taken the conclusions of these efforts and applied them concurrently in the whole system. A review of the current literature will be performed, and multiple efficiency-improving techniques will be applied at once. The design, fabrication, and testing of a high-efficiency, low-to-medium pressure, electrodeless excilamp (excimer/exciplex-based lamp) for water and wastewater disinfection will occur in Phase I. This excilamp eliminates the need for toxic mercury, the quartz sleeve that encloses the traditional mercury lamp, electrodes, and has no warmup time. The North American water and wastewater disinfection markets, valued at 109.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2021, have grown significantly in the past two decades, with a compound annual growth rate of 6.5%. Furthermore, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that a $655 billion investment will be required over the next twenty years to meet the water and wastewater disinfection and redistribution demands, indicating substantial technological developments are needed. In Phase III, in combination with UV disinfection system manufacturers, mercury will be eliminated in the water treatment industry. This will retire the environmental risks of both chlorine and mercury in future water treatment systems, while maintaining the high level of electrical efficiency, water treatment efficacy, and cost effectiveness of current UV systems.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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