The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to turns stockpiles of chemical warfare agents into dirt or other safe organic compounds without generating hazardous waste.
Through the Agnostic Compact Demilitarization of Chemical Agents (ACDC) program, DARPA will fund innovative ideas for development of a transportable, prototype disposal system that converts any chemical warfare agent into safe organic compounds, such as harmless soil.
Current methods to neutralize chemical warfare agents, such as incineration or hydrolysis (as was used for the recent destruction of Syrian chemical warfare agents), create toxic waste that requires further processing. In addition, different types of chemicals require different methods to make them safe, so each agent requires a specific neutralization procedure.
The ACDC program seeks to overcome these obstacles, better enabling safe destruction of chemical stockpiles on site without need for transportation.
The objective of ACDC is to realize a transportable, agnostic prototype system that converts =99.9999% of any halogenated or non-halogenated organic compound into constitutive oxides (e.g., SOx, POx, NOx) and stable alkaline or alkaline earth metal salts (or another demonstrated safe form) with minimal consumables and no hazardous waste output.
“Simply put, we want a new process that would take dirt, plant matter, or whatever is plentiful at the storage location, mix it in with any chemical agent and get safe dirt or plant matter out the back side that can be put back in the environment right at that location, significantly reducing the cost of current methods,” said Tyler McQuade, DARPA program manager.
Those wishing to submit a proposal can find further details at FedBizOpps.gov via Solicitation Number: DARPA-BAA-15-12. The response deadline is March 2, 2015.