Saturday, December 10, 2005

Great Opportunity to develop CO2 Sensor, letter from UHMS

From Don Chandler, UHMS Executive Director

To all--

I have attached an opportunity that Gene Smith, a friend of mine, who works in the headquarters of the NOAA Undersea Research Program made me aware of yesterday. He told me that anyone interested in developing a CO2 sensor for a closed circuit underwater breathing apparatus should respond. The successful respondent to this phase one could receive as much as $95,000 to develop a prototype sensor. He also said that if anyone who is interested but is unfamiliar with how to submit a SBIR (Small Business Initiative) proposal he/she should telephone the contacts listed on the grant announcement and they will help them. He also said he would be pleased to talk with any interested party and steer them in the right direction. Gene can be reached at 301-713-2427 extension 106.

Gene emphasized that even if someone has nothing more than an idea about how to put together a CO2 monitor for use with a closed circuit SCUBA, they should apply. Please make note of the short turn-around time requirement to get the proposal to NOAA...sorry, but I can't do anything about that.

I hope some of you will apply for this need to help advance undersea research/technology.



Here is the attachment.

Hello Colleague or interested party,
The point of this email is to distribute the following announcement of an SBIR opportunity:
NOAA SBIR 2006 Subtopic 8.1.4 R: A Carbon Dioxide Sensor suitable for use in a Closed Circuit Mixed Gas Rebreather.
Proposals must be submitted as directed by 4:00pm January 18, 2006; however, please read the solicitation carefully. Some information and preparation to file must be received before the proposal will be accepted. .
To obtain the information you need to submit; open the link below to the SBIR home page for the Department of Commerce.
Scroll down and Click on the line titled NOAA’s Solicitation FY 2006. Proposal instructions begin on page 20, and on the 54th page out of 97 you will find the subtopic repeated below: 8.1.4.R the request for proposals for a CO2 sensor for Closed Circuit Mixed Gas Rebreathers.

8.1.4 R Subtopic: A Carbon Dioxide Sensor suitable for use in a Closed Circuit Mixed Gas Rebreather.
The NOAA undersea Research Program and the NOAA Dive Program together support more then 25,000 dives per year. An important objective of both programs is to extend the bottom time per dive and to extend the depth limit from 130 feet to 300 feet. This will considerably increase the undersea areas where self-contained wet diving scientist can take fine measurements and conduct experiments. An important part of this program is to introduce closed circuit mixed gas rebreathers (CCRs) into the NURP and NOAA dive programs.
Standard SCUBA is called open circuit because the diver’s breathing gas is exhaled into the water. As the diver’s depth increases the total amount of gas required to fill the lungs increases proportionately although the oxygen consumed remains constant. The closed circuit breathing apparatus recycles the divers exhaled breath while removing the carbon dioxide and replacing the consumed oxygen. This greatly reduces the amount of gas required for shallow and deep dives. The partial pressure of oxygen is sensed electronically and controlled to specified levels using a computer. This is the technology that has matured within the last few years and is now reliable enough to be considered for use by the scientific community.

One shortcoming of currently available systems is the lack of a reliable carbon dioxide sensor that will warn the diver when the carbon dioxide level is becoming too high. There are over 2,000 CCRs in use today and their users rely on manufacturers test results and their own experience to know how long a dive the carbon dioxide scrubber canister will support. The sensor must be contained within the breathing apparatus, detect carbon dioxide over the range of 0.5 to 5% surface equivalent, and operate to a minimum depth of 300 feet in gas mixtures of oxygen, nitrogen, helium, and water vapor.
The document you open through the web page should provide all the information you need to apply. If you have any questions please contact the offices listed in the solicitation.
Regards and please pass this to anyone you know that might be interested.