The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Vista Clara a major R&D grant to develop novel NMR technologies for groundwater remediation monitoring. The grant was selected by the Office of Environmental Management, which manages the largest environmental cleanup program in the world at sites such as Hanford, Oak Ridge, and Savanah River. Environmental engineers at contaminated sites are faced with the challenge of monitoring complex hydrogeologic, biologic, and geochemical processes that occur below the surface and out of sight.  Traditional soil and fluid sampling methods yield limited coverage and carry significant cost associated with labor, safety, and disposal. More cost-effective measurement and monitoring solutions can be achieved through the development of NMR systems that directly measure the physiochemical pore environment and can be deployed in conventional PVC wells networks.

The multi-year Phase 2 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant builds from a successful Phase 1 program that prototyped ultra-slim downhole NMR tools and demonstrated the ability to directly detect remediation amendments and reactions with contaminants. Research and development will focus on hardware, software, and workflow advancements that will enhance sensitivity, decrease monitoring costs, and expand access across remediation markets.  Evaluation and demonstration of the technology at DOE sites in 2022 and 2023 will be supported through partnerships with scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and Savanah River National Laboratory (SRNL).

Vista Clara was recognized as the DOE SBIR Small Business of the year in 2015 and looks forward to executing this grant in continuing support of the DOE needs and the SBIR mission of technology commercialization.