Mr. Darrel Johnston manages the Pharmaceutical Program and Pilot Plant Operations section of the Southwest Research Institute which works with government and commercial clients in the areas of drug modeling, synthesis, scale-up, and production. With reactors up to 200 liters, he oversees the operation of a pilot plant facility compliant with current Good Manufacturing Practices, Good Laboratory Practice, and Drug Enforcement Agency controlled substances as needed. Projects have included treatment or preventative drugs for cancer, heart attack, COVID-19, EBOV, SUDV, MARV, and poisoning from opioids, organophosphates, and cyanide.
Mr. Johnston’s chemical demilitarization experience includes construction, systemization, start-up, operations, and closure phases of chemical warfare agent demilitarization at the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Destruction System (JACADS), Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (UMCDF), Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, and Newport Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (NECDF). He facilitated air sampling and analysis for chemical agent BZ, for the demolition of the BZ Disposal Facility (BZDF) in Pine Bluff, AR. Mr. Johnston served as the on-site Laboratory Manager for the JACADS, UMCDF, and NECDF facilities and was responsible for leadership and day-to-day operation of the agent and non-agent monitoring systems including the analytical laboratories. His direct support of demilitarization laboratory operations spanned 17 years from 1990-2008.
Mr. Johnston was also the Southwest Research Institute project manager for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Agnostic Compact Demilitarization of Chemicals (ACDC) project. While serving in this role, he investigated the use of a diesel engine for the destruction of chemical warfare agents and making use of media such as soil for acid gas scrubbing.
Podcasts / Webinars
The safe destruction of chemical warfare agents (CWAs) and organic precursors is a timely, costly, and significant challenge for the international community. Today, for example, there are no approaches that exploit chemistries that are truly agnostic in terms of the agents that can be processed. Additionally, current approaches require transport of agents from the storage site to a neutralization site, which can add significant cost and time to the destruction process.
DARPA’s ACDC program explored new technologies for neutralization of bulk stores of CWAs and organic precursors at or near the site of storage. ACDC developed and demonstrated the technologies needed to construct a transportable, prototype system that converts organic compounds into constitutive carbon/nitrogen/phosphorous/sulfur oxides and stable alkali or alkaline earth metal salts. The ACDC system featured chemistries for agent destruction and sequestration of halogens and other components using locally available or easily transportable resources. This webinar describes the DARPA ACDC program and its exploration of neutralization of bulk stores of CWAs and organic precursors at or near the site of storage.