The CSIRO has been awarded a Defence Innovation Hub contract to accelerate the development and commercialisation of their cutting-edge respirator technology, in collaboration with Boron Molecular and EPE.
The CSIRO has announced that they have been awarded a contract valued at $8.6 million to accelerate the development and commercialisation of respirator technology, designed to keep defence personnel and first responders safe from chemical, biological and radiological threats.
According to a release from the CSIRO, the contract is the largest contract awarded by the DIH to date.
Under ongoing development is a single canister device, which is expected to provide longer protection against more varied threats including biological and radiological agents, as well as a reducing exposure to a broad spectrum of industrial chemicals.
As part of the contract, the CSIRO will be collaborating with Melbourne’s Boron Molecular, Brisbane’s EPE Trusted to Protect and Monash University.
“We are using science to create real-world solutions, working with Australian industry to build sovereign capability and turn brilliant ideas into something groundbreaking to protect our troops,” Dr Larry Marshall, chief executive of the CSIRO, said.
“We are aiming to develop a respirator that will be the most capable in the world.”
According to the CSIRO’s Professor Matthew Hill, the agency has been researching porous solids – needed within the canisters – for a decade, while streamlining the manufacturing process. The solids are combined with nanofibers to stop particles from filtering through and can combine to soak up hazardous gasses.
“By combining our expertise in nanofibers and porous solids, we’re developing a technology that will protect our military personnel from weaponised toxic chemical gases and vapours and give them a greater chance to safely complete their mission,” he said.
EPE has been designated as the lead commercial partner and is scheduled to manufacture the cannisters.
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“We are excited to work with CSIRO and Defence Science and Technology Group to ensure that the product produced is not just the best technologically but also operationally meets the needs of service personnel,” EPE managing director Warwick Penrose said.
“Ultimately, we are excited by the prospect of getting this product protecting the service men and woman of Australia, our allies, as well as the first responder community.”