A new system to destroy chemical agents

A new system to destroy chemical agents


A mobile treatment system that destroys chemical warfare agents without producing hazardous waste has been announced by Southwest Research Institute. The system it helped develop comes in two configurations, one wet and one dry.

The dry pollution control process, suited for arid or remote regions, uses a Dedicated EGR engine thermal destruction device developed by Southwest Research Institute for the Agnostic Compact Demilitarization of Chemical Agents program of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projets Agency. When chemicals are destroyed, exhaust gases pass through a fluidized bed where the combusted byproducts are captured.

A wet pollution system, developed by a Canadian company, has a stand-alone plasma torch treatment device with a liquid scrubber system. Both systems are designed to fit into a large shipping container for easy transportation to hazardous sites. The systems also utilize local soil, which remains non-hazardous and eliminates the need to transport water to sites or ship waste material to a treatment facility.

Both wet and dry configurations have undergone initial testing in Canada. The dry soil-based scrubber was interfaced with the Canadian company’s plasma torch front end and proved more than 99.9999 percent effective in destroying simulated chemical weapon agents. The system is scheduled for testing with authentic chemical agents this summer.