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Friday, January 15th, 2021

ECBC researchers receive patent for chemical warfare agent destruction system

Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) researchers recently received a patent for their field deployable hydrolysis system (FDHS), which was used to destroy approximately 600 tons of Syrian chemical warfare material aboard a maritime vessel in international waters back in 2014.

According to Tom Rosso, Program Management Chief for the Chemical Biological Applications and Risk Reduction (CBARR) unit, the system was developed in response to concerns over the ability to provide a transportable destruction technology for neutralizing toxic chemical materials. In total, seven FDHS units were produced, with the last one being manufactured in May 2014.

The system was designed to destroy mustard agents and a sarin precursor called DF, along with two other chemical agent precursors.

“We formulated all the recipes to treat each chemical and determined how to scale-up the lab results for use in the system,” said Adam Baker, a patent holder who worked with the Research and Technology Directorate’s chief scientist to develop the formulas needed to neutralize the dangerous agents.

According to ECBC, work began on the patent while the research crews were still aboard the ship which was used to destroy the Syrian chemical material. From there, the seven men who were responsible for the system completed the invention disclosure, which is the first step on the patent application process. Each inventor then signed the patent documents when they arrived home in September 2014.

“After that, we heard nothing until March of this year when [John Biffoni, ECBC patent attorney] sent me an email confirming we received the patent with the patent number,” Ray DiBerarido, CBARR’s project manager for the FDHS, said.

The FDHS patent is the 15th patent ECBC has received during the current fiscal year.

Awardees of the patent include DiBerardo; Baker; Tim Blades, director of operations for CBARR; Jeff Gonce, CBARR equipment manager; Jason Adamek, ECBC engineer on the Advanced Design and Manufacturing team; David Kline, CBARR mechanical engineer; and Brian O’Donnell, CBARR project manager assigned to the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense while the system was being developed.