DAILY NEWS Jun 12, 2014 6:55 AM - 1 comment

Quebec firm to design anti-chemical weapon system

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By: HazMat Staff

Quebec-based environmental services firm PyroGenesis Canada Inc. has won a contract to build a mobile plasma system that could destroy chemical weapons.

The deal, expected to be worth $1.5 million, comes through an “international military consortium” following “extensive discussions with specialty military groups over the past 18 months” to engineer a tactical mobile plasma system to destroy chemical warfare agents like those being used in Syria.

“The situation in Syria has highlighted the urgent need for a tactical mobile unit that can be readily deployed, have rapid destruction capabilities and generate no toxic by-products,” the company said in a June 5, 2014 statement.

The deal will be executed in two phases: engineer a self-contained mobile tactical plasma unit, then see the unit built and delivered, though PyroGenesis said the second phase has not been contracted and could be delayed or cancelled.

“Delivering a technology that can be dropped off the back of a plane in the harshest environment to instantaneously destroy some of the most dangerous substances known to man has significant commercial ramifications,” Gillian Holcroft, executive vice-president of strategic alliances with PyroGenesis, said in a statement.

“The system is scalable and, as such, larger units can be delivered for […] destruction of both hazardous chemicals and biological threats.”

Should the deal proceed to phase two, the company said it expects the system to be delivered later in 2014.

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Your headline implies the Pyrogenesis system hasn't been designed yet. Actually, the plasma-arc disposal system has been designed and installed on several platforms, including large vessels. I believe their effort is more of an adaptation to a land-mobile platform, which is a low-risk effort that will take fewer engineering hours than a bottoms-up design. I've been tracking this (Pyrogenesis) outfit for a year now after buying its stock, and can't believe how low the price is (bought some additional shares last week). I'm optimistic on their future, but disappointed that many of their potential customers have delayed decisions to embrace plasma-arc technology for municipal and other waste streams. Maybe it's time to tax municipalities with landfills so more efficient waste disposal (e.g.,plasma arc waste destruction) is incentivized. I also found it remarkable that the US Army built their own when Pyrogenesis already had the hard stuff built. I wonder how the US Army's nerve-gas waste destruction system is performing in its Syria deployment? Now that would be an interesting story! I thought he government wasn't supposed to build systems; but they were required by law (the F.A.R.) to procure via industry. Sounds like the Army waste destruction system is worthy of an IG investigation, but it's election time, so all the politicians are campaigning instead of watching out for their troops and taxpayers.

Posted June 13, 2014 01:31 PM

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