EPA Recognizes Eclipse's PhostrEx

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Eclipse Aviation on Tuesday said the Environmental Protection Agency awarded the company with a 2007 Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award for the development of its PhostrEx fire-suppression system. “PhostrEx will transform how our industry protects against engine fires while simultaneously guarding against the depletion of the ozone,” said Eclipse President and CEO Vern Raburn. PhostrEx was patented by Eclipse and is the first new commercially viable aircraft engine fire-suppression system in 50 years, the company said. Aircraft fire-suppression systems are currently exempt from the Montreal Protocol and are allowed to use Halon, an ozone-depleting substance, until a workable substitute is found. PhostrEx could very well be that substitute, but the EPA has yet to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking t o ban Halon for aviation applications.

When the PhostrEx agent is released from its hermetically-sealed canister, it works in less than one-tenth of a second, then, after extinguishing the fire it combines with moisture in the air and quickly becomes inert. Because of this rapid reaction with moist air and surfaces, the agent cannot be transported to the stratosphere where ozone depletion could occur, Eclipse notes. In a fire, PhostrEx decomposes 1,000 times more rapidly than Halon and undergoes three sequential losses of bromine atoms, which are the power behind this agent. These atoms then catalyze suppression of the fire, according to Eclipse.