ARL invention licensed to Montana business helps communities respond to hazardous airborne plumes

June 26, 2017

By T'Jae Gibson, ARL Public Affairs

Story Highlights

  • Montana-based business benefits from Army research
  • ARL patents, licenses 24-hour emergency response decision aid for hazardous airborne release incident
  • Effort part of a cooperative research agreement between ARL and Diamond B Technology Solutions

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (June 19, 2017) -- The Local-Rapid Evaluation of Atmospheric Conditions (L-REAC®) System, invented by researchers at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in New Mexico, was licensed to Diamond-B Technology Solutions in Billings, Mont., earlier this month.

The system is an automated, 24/7 emergency response decision aid for hazardous airborne release incidents. It improves situational awareness by providing near-instant information on local weather conditions during life-threatening incidents like forest fires, chemical attacks and train derailments.

The meteorological sensor suite feeds real-time data into wind and/or plume models. The near real-time wind/plume outputs are automatically updated and made available to authorized end-users. Users can discern safe escape routes and hazmat countermeasures by using the graphical visualization of the swirling flow around buildings, and the overlapping gradient concentration of airborne hazardous materials.

According to lead inventor Gail Vaucher, an ARL research meteorologist, the system's value was first proven during a 2011 forest fire which threatened a community near White Sands, and has been operating at an Army garrison ever since.

The team at Diamond-B will continue developing the system as part of a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the ARL. The CRADA allows them to continue research and development with Vaucher's help, including design of a lightweight version for use by military groups to detect chemical weapons.

"The CRADA that we are currently in the process of establishing with Diamond-B will allow improvements to the technology," said Jason Craley, a Technology Transfer Specialist with the ARL Technology Transfer and Outreach Office. "ARL will certainly gain from this and so will Diamond-B."

Diamond-B has customers in the oil and gas industry and thinks a stationary system will pair well with their software product (ProCertX) that tracks the training and location of personnel at production facilities, transportation terminals, and refineries. Company spokespeople also believe police, firefighters, and national guardsmen will want to have system kits to deploy in emergencies.

The deal was assisted by TechLink, a Department of Defense Partnership Intermediary based at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. TechLink specializes in brokering license agreements between DOD labs and private industry.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory, currently celebrating 25 years of excellence in Army science and technology, is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities that provide decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the joint warfighter and the nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.


Last Update / Reviewed: June 26, 2017