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DRI receives $1.2 Million from Senate Bill to fund dust and air pollution surveillance




DRI will build a mobile aerosol monitoring facility for U.S. Department of Defense

RENO — Nevada Senator Harry Reid announced this week that DRI will receive $1.2 million to create a mobile aerosol monitoring system for the Department of Defense (DOD) to help address health concerns of troops currently stationed in the Middle East.

The announcement came after the U.S. Senate passed the Department of Defense Appropriations Conference Report that will result in nearly $90 million coming to Nevada for job-creating projects and high tech initiatives that will support the military.

Research professors Johann Engelbrecht, Ph.D., and Hans Moosmüller, Ph.D. will design and build the mobile surveillance facility to collect near real-time data that will help the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine (USACHPPM) better understand the relationships between troop exposure to desert dust and other air pollutants, and respiratory and other health conditions.

“This project is being performed in close collaboration with USACHPPM. We are giving them the tools to assess the health effects of troop exposure to elevated aerosol and dust concentrations and also the impact of severe dust events on military operations,” Engelbrecht said.

The continuous measurement of dust physical properties will allow for an assessment of its harmful effect on military equipment.

“The surveillance of the optical and physical properties of wind-blown dust particles will lead to a better understanding of the aerosol optics needed for interpretation of satellite images and for related airborne and ground-based remote sensing and other optical military equipment,” Moosmüller said.

Information needs for aerosol optics will be assessed in collaboration with researchers from the Army Research Laboratory.

Each researcher brings expertise to the project. Moosmüller’s research focuses on development and application of real-time measurement methods for aerosol optics and new optical remote sensing techniques. Engelbrecht has been principal or co-principal investigator on several related air quality and mineral dust studies, including the Department of Energy’s Yucca Mountain Air Quality Scoping Study, and the Department of Defense’s Enhanced Particulate Matter Surveillance Program (EPMSP). The latter program provided information on the chemical and physical properties of dust and other aerosols collected at 15 military locations in the Middle East.

In spring, 2010 the two researchers and their team of researchers and technicians will begin acquiring and assembling the instrumentation for the facility. The operation of the facility will be initiated by testing at the DRI Reno campus, followed by operational testing and use at a military base in the southwestern Unites States, and by use at a US military base in the Middle East. The entire program will be completed during the next three years.

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