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Atmos Environ (1994). 2017 Apr;154:31-41. doi: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2017.01.029.

A small, lightweight multipollutant sensor system for ground-mobile and aerial emission sampling from open area sources.

Author information

1
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Duke University, 121 Hudson Hall, Durham, NC 27708, USA.
2
University of Dayton Research Institute, 300 College Park, Dayton, OH 45469, USA.
3
Visiting scientist to the U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development, 109 T.W. Alexander Drive, Durham, NC 27709, USA.
4
U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development, 109 T.W. Alexander Drive, Durham, NC 27709, USA.

Abstract

Characterizing highly dynamic, transient, and vertically lofted emissions from open area sources poses unique measurement challenges. This study developed and applied a multipollutant sensor and time-integrated sampler system for use on mobile applications such as vehicles, tethered balloons (aerostats) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to determine emission factors. The system is particularly applicable to open area sources, such as forest fires, due to its light weight (3.5 kg), compact size (6.75 L), and internal power supply. The sensor system, termed "Kolibri", consists of sensors measuring CO2 and CO, and samplers for particulate matter (PM) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The Kolibri is controlled by a microcontroller which can record and transfer data in real time through a radio module. Selection of the sensors was based on laboratory testing for accuracy, response delay and recovery, cross-sensitivity, and precision. The Kolibri was compared against rack-mounted continuous emissions monitoring system (CEMs) and another mobile sampling instrument (the "Flyer") that has been used in over ten open area pollutant sampling events. Our results showed that the time series of CO, CO2, and PM2.5 concentrations measured by the Kolibri agreed well with those from the CEMs and the Flyer, with a laboratory- tested percentage error of 4.9%, 3%, and 5.8%, respectively. The VOC emission factors obtained using the Kolibri were consistent with existing literature values that relate concentration to combustion efficiency. The potential effect of rotor downwash on particle sampling was investigated in an indoor laboratory and the preliminary results suggested that its influence is minimal. Field application of the Kolibri sampling open detonation plumes indicated that the CO and CO2 sensors responded dynamically and their concentrations co-varied with emission transients. The Kolibri system can be applied to various challenging open area scenarios such as fires, lagoons, flares, and landfills.

KEYWORDS:

PM2.5; Sensor system; VOC; air quality; emission sampling

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