Development of an Active, Man-Portable, Cooling System with Dehumidification Capabilities for Personal Protective Clothing/Equipment

Award Information
Department of Energy
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
48 b
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Mainstream Engineering Corporation
200 Yellow Place, Pines Industrial Center, Rockledge, FL, -
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Joseph Homitz
(321) 631-3550
Business Contact:
Michael Rizzo
(321) 631-3550
Research Institution:

The U.S. Department of Energy is currently seeking technologies that can decrease the weight and thermal insulation associated with personal protective clothing/equipment (PPC/PPE). The call for this technology has stemmed from the poor working conditions associated with workers in contaminated areas of nuclear facilities and the need to mitigate the effects of heat stress. Because the primary objective is to provide a comfortable working environment for these workers, Mainstream has developed an active cooling system that can be used with existing PPC/PPE instead of developing new protective suits. No matter how thin or lightweight an enclosed protective suit can be made, a worker in a hot environment can experience the effects of heat stress. Unless the suit is able to remove heat from the body and either store that energy or reject it to the atmosphere, the suit will act as insulation. Mainstreams active system is able to provide a cool/dry environment for these workers in even the hottest of environments. The system is lightweight and has similar volume requirements to a small backpack. In Phase I of this program, Mainstream completed the development and testing of an efficient and effective microclimate system that is designed to integrate with existing PPC. Through this effort, Mainstream has demonstrated that a low-cost, reliable system is a near-term reality and can be marketed without the need for a Phase III developmental effort. In Phase II, Mainstream will fabricate and test a second-generation prototype system and deliver the system to the DOE prior to completion of the Phase II contract. User feedback will allow Mainstream to proceed to a production design prior to completing the Phase II effort. In addition to providing a safe and comfortable working environment to nuclear facilities workers, this technology has significant potential in other commercial and military markets. These markets include firefighters, HAZMAT workers, workers in clean rooms, workers in other contaminated areas, as well as military personnel that are required to wear Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) suits and bomb disposal suits. In addition to the development of an integrated system, this effort will bring forth individual components that have strong potential for both commercial and military markets.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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