An SCBA with Integral Heat Stress Relief

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The SuperCritical Air Mobility Pack (SCAMP) provides breathing air and full body cooling for hazardous materials workers, firefighters, and industry. Breathing air is essential for workers under oxygen deficient conditions or where toxic gases are or may be present. In addition to providing the basic air supply, SCAMP solves the major, recognized problem of heat stress in workers in impermeable suits and/or hot environments. Working time in confined suits is at present normally limited by the heat stress produced in the worker that reduces productivity and dehydrates and debilitates the worker. Use of SCAMP will allow each worker two to six times the working time in the suit each day as is obtainable with a standard Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA). This will greatly reduce labor costs on extended fire operations and hazardous materials cleanup. It is a known factor that almost half of all firefighter deaths each year are caused by heart problems. By reducing the carried weight and the heat stress on the user the heart stress and therefore the Line Of Duty Deaths (LODD) should be reduced.

Using ultra-cold (cryogenic) technology, SCAMP has reduced the weight of the breathing air supply while providing cooling at the same time. The conventional compressed air on-hour duration SCBA system weighs 35 pounds and has no cooling. The SCAMP supplies a one-hour breathing/cooling apparatus in a package weighing less than 30 pounds. The air is stored in a dewar at -320 F. When it leaves the dewar for breathing it passes though a heat exchanger where it warms up to breathable temperature and simultaneously cools the antifreeze solution circulating around the user's body in the cooling suit. The harder a user is working, the more air they breath and thus more cooling that they get.

The Niwot Tech manufacturing plan is to assemble the SCAMP dewar, backpack, and loading system from components purchased form vendors, and obtain mask and regulators as well as the cooling suit OEM agreements.

The current unit is a one-hour rated breathing/cooling SCAMP SCBA. This has the largest potential single market of all of the configurations possible and would be the standard operational unit for haz-mat workers and firefighters. Two-hour and longer lived units will serve specialty markets such as mine rescue, tunnel and marine fires, high-rise fires, search and rescue operations, etc.

The first level of customers is within the Haz-Mat industry as the heat stress problem there is most acute and acceptance of new technology is high. The larger firefighter market will take longer to develop. The US market for SCBA'S is about 100,000 units/year is 40-45% of the total world market.

The current SCBA market is dominated by Scott and MSA in the USA and by Interspiro, Draeger, and MSA internationally. All of these use compressed air units at pressures up to 4500 psi. The cryogenic SCAMP is lighter and thinner than a compressed air SCBA, operates at 750 psi, and provides the cooling which is lacking in compressed air.


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  • Name:
    Harold Gier
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