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For Release: July 1, 1997

Don Nolan-Proxmire
Headquarters, Washington, DC
(Phone: 202/358-1983)

Keith Henry
Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA
(Phone: 757/864-6120/4)

RELEASE NO. 97-044

NASA LICENSES AIR QUALITY MONITORING TECHNOLOGY

A technology originally developed for monitoring atmospheric air quality now is being used to help U.S. industries reduce smokestack pollution.

A remote gas sensor with NASA technology could detect industrial pollution in smokestacks or with a "fence" system that would allow the sensor to see around an area with the help of mirrors.

NASA is working with MERCO, Incorporated, Golden, Colo., to jointly develop and commercialize the technology through a patent license agreement. Under the agreement, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va. will transfer its fast-response, nonmechanical remote gas sensing technology for monitoring gaseous pollutants emitted from petroleum refineries and chemical manufacturing facilities to Merco.

Although originally developed for measurement of gases in the Earth's atmosphere from aircraft and satellite platforms, the technology's improved design makes it attractive for many Earth-based monitoring applications. Called GFCR, for Gas Filter Correlation Radiometer, the device has many distinct advantages over conventional gas sensors, such as the capability for remote sensing, area source monitoring, higher reliability, faster response and a more compact design.

The agreement was facilitated by the Mid-Continent Technology Transfer Center, College Station, Texas. The Center worked closely with MERCO by preparing a brief marketing study and then, in conjunction with MERCO and the University of Colorado, developed a milestone plan for evolving the prototype into a commercial product. The company anticipates rapid commercialization of the instrument for use by the private sector.

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