SBIR-STTR Award

Autonomous, In-Situ Fugitive Microplastic Detector and Datalogger
Award last edited on: 1/20/2023

Sponsored Program
SBIR
Awarding Agency
DOT
Total Award Amount
$1,149,752
Award Phase
2
Solicitation Topic Code
21-FH1
Principal Investigator
Noah Kolodziejski

Company Information

Optowares Incorporated

15 Presidential Way
Woburn, MA 01801
   (781) 465-2623
   info@optowares.com
   www.optowares.com
Location: Single
Congr. District: 05
County: Middlesex

Phase I

Contract Number: 6913G621P800049
Start Date: 6/17/2021    Completed: 12/21/2021
Phase I year
2021
Phase I Amount
$149,837
In-place resurfacing of asphalt-based wear layers is an increasingly common method of roadway rehabilitation. With the addition of waste microplastics to bitumen binders as performance improvers, the grinding of asphalt during in-place resurfacing potentially brings microplastic particulate pollution to every community in the US. In addition, the wear of roadway surfaces is a known major source of particulate runoff, with theinclusion of microplastics potentially adding a new dimension of ecotoxicity to the pavement life cycle. We propose an in-situ, compact, continuous monitor of airborne fugitive and first-flush stormwater-suspended particles, using proven, molecularly-specific vibrational analysis techniques, to quantitate and identify road wear particles by composition, plastic content, and particle size.It may be implemented to monitor water or air without modification, such that aerosol monitoring and aqueous runoff monitoring can be performed with a single instrument. The proposed technology retains a continuous record of the sample in the form of particles bound on a roll filter archive, and is supported by both prior results on the topic, and OptowaresÂ’ experience in bringing advanced machine-learning enabled spectroscopy instruments to difficult-to-solve problems.

Phase II

Contract Number: 6913G622C100015
Start Date: 5/26/2022    Completed: 5/27/2024
Phase II year
2022
Phase II Amount
$999,915
In-place resurfacing of asphalt-based wear layers is an increasingly common method of roadway rehabilitation. With the addition of waste microplastics to bitumen binders as performance improvers, the grinding of asphalt during in-place resurfacing potentially brings microplastic particulate pollution to every community in the US. In addition, the wear of roadway surfaces is a known major source of particulate runoff, with the inclusion of microplastics potentially adding a new dimension of ecotoxicity to the pavement life cycle. We propose an in-situ, compact, continuous monitor of airborne fugitive and first-flush storm water-suspended particles, using proven, molecularly-specific vibrational analysis techniques, to quantitate and identify road wear particles by composition, plastic content, and particle size. It may be implemented to monitor water or air without modification, such that aerosol monitoring and aqueous runoff monitoring can be performed with a single instrument. The proposed technology retains a continuous record of the sample in the form of particles bound on a roll filter archive, and is supported by both prior results on the topic, and OptowaresÂ’ experience in bringing advanced machine-learning enabled spectroscopy instruments to difficult-to-solve problems.