BOSTON, May 12, 2006 – The National Science Foundation has awarded a grant to Reactive Innovations, LLC (formerly MicroCell Technologies, LLC) to develop and demonstrate a compact and portable chlor alkali generator for emergency response operations. Contaminated environments are increasing as a result of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina as well as by intentional contamination due to terrorist chemical and biological attacks. Emergency response personnel need improved methods to disinfect or decontaminate such exposed areas quickly.
Reactive Innovations, LLC (RIL) is developing a portable system that uses an electrochemical reactor to generate chlorine and caustic soda efficiently in a compact manner. These products may be combined to produce hypochlorite giving the emergency responder a range of chemical reactants produced on-site that can be used for disinfecting water or decontaminating surfaces. RIL is working toward demonstrating a prototype reactor for the National Science Foundation. The benefits of RIL’s approach include a lighter weight and compact electrochemical reactor, a simplified balance of plant, and a reduction in energy usage by 30% over traditional chlor alkali systems. These features help make the device portable on a scale where one to two people can place the unit where needed.
The broader implications of RIL’s portable chlor-alkali generator is that contaminated sites may be cleaned quicker and inexpensively. This has particular importance in providing improved water quality for consumption in disaster areas along with quicker decontamination of buildings, personnel, and equipment. The ability to generate on-site decontamination chemicals lessens the logistical supply burden of storing and shipping vast quantities of chemicals that would be required to decontaminate a site. Extensions of RIL’s compact electrochemical reactor technology may also be applied toward smaller units for disinfecting water for recreational usage and for military soldiers.