In principle there are four ways to eliminate or reduce the threat from HME:
1. Stop or obstruct the supply chain of explosive precursors (i.e. limit the availability)
In Europe, the Standing Committee of explosive Precursors (SCP) has been focused on legislation for what type of precursors that will be available as everyday chemicals to the public. EXPEDIA will test what terrorists can do with precursors in the concentrations that are still available either to the general Public or Professionals, with the aim to find ways to chemically halter their misuse.
2. Stop or obstruct the illegal production of initiator systems (primary explosives)
EXPEDIA will work on inhibiting frequently used improvised initiator explosives prepared from day-to-day chemicals. The EXPEDIA consortium includes a precursor producer, which shows the interest from the industry for finding viable solutions to the problem with misuse of its products, and also, ensures the research to focus onto solutions that are realistic for implementation.
3. Chemical inhibition of explosive precursors (main charges)
EXPEDIA will work towards reducing the threat from HME main charges made of commonly available fertilisers or nitromethane by research on ways to chemically alter the products. The EXPEDIA consortium includes one of the world's largest producers of fertilisers (Yara) as well as a large retailer of nitromethane (DOW).
4. Early detection of bomb factories
The HME production phase can take everything from a few minutes up to months depending on the availability of the precursors and size of the charge. During this phase, there is an increased chance of detection of the terrorist plot than in the later execution phase. EXPEDIA will contribute with knowledge of possible ways to identify different precursors and recognize garage laboratories for HMEs. This knowledge will be included in the European guide for first responders . There are other European projects projects that focus on developing detection methods for finding HME productions sites (e.g. LOTUS, EMPHASIS and BONAS )
How will the EXPEDIA results be implemented on the commercial market?
The EXPEDIA consortium involves industrial and SME partners that have extensive knowledge of what is required from commercial products on the European market. They will perform the core work on the feasibility and cost studies within the EXPEDIA project. A close collaboration with these partners will be fundamental for all the inhibition research carried out as well as the work involving garage chemistry.
In addition, one partner will perform toxicology studies on the suggested inhibition chemicals in order to ensure that they will not impact people's health or on the environment. The EXPEDIA project will deliver estimates of cost for implementations, impact on final products and recommendations for implementation of both the inhibition chemicals and of the European guide for first responders.
Dr. Malin Kölhed, Ph.D.
Dr. Henric Östmark
This project has received funding from the research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 604987.