Advanced Personal Gas Detectors for Mining Applications

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1R43OH009026-01
Agency Tracking Number: OH009026
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2007
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Synkera Technologies, Inc., 2605 Trade Centre Ave., LONGMONT, CO, 80503
DUNS: 130993384
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 (720) 494-8401
Business Contact
Phone: () -
Research Institution
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Abstract The risk of explosions in underground mines due to the presence of combustible gases is severe. The overall long-term objective of the proposed project is to develop and commercialize a new generation of afford able, reliable and portable hazardous gas detector in a smart card format for use as a personal safety tool. The development of such an easy to use and wear personal monitor for the detection of combustible gases (e.g. methane) would be a substantial ben efit to worker health and safety. Specific goal of the Phase I project is to develop a critical element of such monitor, namely low power, high performance reliable gas microsensor for detection of combustible gases in mining environments. Combustible gas sensors available on the market today typically involve catalytic beads (pellistors), or in the case of permanent installations, also infrared (IR) sensor technology. These are not suitable for personal monitoring due either bulk and cost (IR) or high powe r consumption (catalytic bead). Additionally, the stability and reliability of existing combustible gas sensors need to be improved in order to enable fail-safe operation. Synkera proposes the development of a new and improved catalytic combustible gas mic rosensors based on a new microsensor platform technology, integrating precision-engineered nanostructured sensing elements with high surface area into a robust monolithic ceramic platform. In order to achieve the project objectives, in Phase I Synkera will (1) select microsensor design to achieve low power required by smart card format; (2) produce sensor substrates with varied nanoscale morphology; (2) develop catalyst formulations; (3) evaluate and develop an understanding of the effect of substrate mor phology, catalyst formulation and operating mode on the sensor performance and stability; and (5) produce prototype low power sensors and demonstrate their potential in achieving performance required for portable gas monitors. The proposed combustible gas microsensors will have strong benefits in high sensitivity and selectivity, low power consumption, chemical and mechanical stability, and fast response. This Phase I project will lay the foundation for the development of inexpensive, user friendly, ultra- portable and robust personal gas monitors. The mining industry is one of the more challenging occupational sectors that involve adverse workers conditions, including the presence of hazardous and combustible gases. Current gas monitoring is accomplished vi a both fixed systems and portable instruments; however, the size and cost of current portable instruments has been a barrier to their use by all mining employees. Proposed sensor will support a new type of dramatically improved and inexpensive portable com bustible gas monitors for individual use, thus enabling a new approach to alleviating intrinsic hazards of this occupation.

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

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