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Q.E.D. Environmental Systems

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QED Environmental Systems design, manufacture and support environmental technology solutions for groundwater, soil and gas management applications into industrial, environmental and energy markets worldwide. Its corporate headquarters are in the USA which support the North, Central and South American markets. QED’s International office covers Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific. The company’s focussed vertical markets include remediation, landfill, biogas, medical and food and beverage. QED has an extensive network of established international distributors, enabling it to provide its products, services and support in a local language to over 60 countries throughout the world. QED also has a strong portfolio of acquired product brands including Geotech, Landtec and Viasensor gas analysers, En Novative Technologies soil sampling products and Snap Sampler groundwater sampling solutions.

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US Navy Selects Portable Air Monitor With Real-time Analysis to Check Breathing Air Quality

The US Navy now has the capability to conduct real-time analysis of breathing air from both authorized military and commercial sources. The semi-annual Fleet Air Sampling Program, currently used for air analysis, has several drawbacks.

Probably the most significant is in sending samples to a laboratory for analysis with its lack of real-time feedback to the operator. If a compressor is malfunctioning, the first diving teams may know of it is when they have to deploy their standby diver to recover an unconscious diver. It may be many months before dive teams realise a compressor is operating outside of its parameters if the problem is small and a sample is not due for some months.

The Fleet Air Sampling Program involves mandatory, semi-annual air purity testing of compressors used to supply Divers' air. Gas sampling kits supplied by a contract laboratory are sent to the field where gas samples are taken and then returned to the laboratory for analysis. Analytical results are reported to the field indicating a pass or fail based on the specifications for diving air in the U.S. Navy Diving Manual.

To make improvements, The Navy Experimental Diving Unit (NEDU), in conjunction with several manufacturers, developed a number of Portable Air Monitors (PAMs). Out of these, only the Geotech DIVEAIR2, made it to operational field-testing with US Navy Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One and Unit Two.

NEDU has worked with manufacturers over several years to develop a PAM with the unique capability to be able to test for O2, CO2, CO, and total hydrocarbons in one package. When NEDU was satisfied that the Geotech PAM could monitor air to a suitable level of accuracy, the unit was passed to the US Naval Diving and Salvage Training Centre (NDSTC) for more thorough testing in 2006. With the help of NDSTC, and over many months testing, initial problems were identified, solved and final modifications made.

The resulting Geotech DIVEAIR2 comes in a small 'pelican' case with a visual alarm to alert the operator if any of the gases or elements being tested fall outside of permissible limits. It contains a rechargeable battery and can be linked to a computer to download logged test results.

The Geotech Diveair PAM has several applications in addition to supporting routine compressor testing. As seen by the US Navy during diving operations following Hurricane Katrina, the ability to test air quality before running a compressor in a potentially contaminated air environment is extremely beneficial. This same principle applies prior to using compressors on ships or in the vicinity of engine exhausts. The monitor can be used 'in-line', allowing compressor air output to be monitored continuously and alerting the operator to possible compressor malfunctions or the presence of a "bad" air source. The PAM can also be attached directly to a SCUBA bottle allowing divers to check breathing air obtained from commercial sources when the mission demands.

According to the US Navy, because this monitor is unique, they anticipate interest from other branches of the military such as submariners and aviators who also need to test breathing air in real time. There has also been interest from the commercial diving community who can see the benefit of being able to test their compressor air output real-time.

With successful pre-operational field-testing complete, NAVSEA has now purchased its first delivery of Geotech Diveair PAMs to be strategically deployed. The first twenty units will be issued to those commands which will most benefit from the portable nature of the PAM and one monitor has already been used overseas. The PAM will be issued as a package along with calibration gas and a reducer built specifically for the PAM. The current semi-annual Fleet Air Sampling Program will continue to run unchanged while the first batch of monitors are used to determine how this new capability can be best exploited and make any necessary system changes identified through field testing.

For further information please email Geotechnical Instruments

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