Lab Canada

Ontario innovators win $10,000 award for mercury-monitoring system

Calgary, AB – Inventors Frank Schaedlich and Daniel Schneeberger have won a $10,000 Manning Innovation Award, sponsored by the Arthur JE Child Foundation, for their revolutionary work on mercury monitoring. The system they developed, a continuous emissions monitor (CEM) operates automatically, 24/7 to detect various forms of mercury in smoke stack gas, a particularly difficult task given the cocktail of emissions.

In 1989, the two inventors founded Tekran (now Tekran Instruments Corporation) in Toronto. In 1993, they developed an automated total mercury analyzer, which rapidly and continuously measured the amount of mercury in ambient air. In 1998, they discovered a way to differentiate among various forms of mercury in air samples. Building on their prior innovations, they designed a monitoring system that screens smokestack gas for mercury; the Tekran series 3300 continuous emissions monitoring system.

In 2005, they sold the company but they remained with it to head an expanded research and development group in the Toronto office, while the company’s headquarters moved to Knoxville, Tennessee.

The Nanticoke Generating Station in Ontario and Poplar River Generating Station in Saskatchewan are two of many coal-fired plants that use the company’s CEM; hundreds of power plants in the United States will soon be using it for mercury emissions monitoring. In addition, the Canadian scientists who discovered the extent of mercury contamination in the Arctic relied on the mercury monitors.

This year the foundation will award $165,000 in prize money. Four awards totalling $145,000 will go to leading Canadian innovators. Another $20,000 will go to Young Canadians chosen at the 2007 Canada-Wide Science Fair.

The 2007 awards will be presented at an awards gala on September 28th in Toronto.