Inexpensive High Performance Continuous Ammonia Monitor

EPA Contract Number: EPD14015
Title: Inexpensive High Performance Continuous Ammonia Monitor
Investigators: Vakhtin, Andrei B
Small Business: Vista Photonics, Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: May 1, 2014 through April 30, 2015
Project Amount: $100,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2014) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , Air Quality and Air Toxics , SBIR - Air Monitoring and Remote Sensing


Environmental studies have proven that ammonia (NH3) presents a significant environmental hazard; therefore, accurate monitoring and control of NH3 concentration is required inorder to maintain appropriate air quality levels. Atmospheric  ammonia contributes directly and indirectly to acidification, eutrophication, human health and climate change. For air pollution monitoring, the ammonia concentration level of interest is in the parts per billion (ppb) range. This application also demands portability and continuous monitoring capability since long term measurements in remote locations are often needed. In order to address these requirements, sensitive, high-performance, rugged and portable ammonia sensor with detection limit of about 1 ppb, capable of continuous, reliable and accurate monitoring of NH3 needs to be developed.

Vista  Photonics proposes to develop an innovative inexpensive optical technology for highly sensitive and selective continuous measurement of atmospheric ammonia for air pollution monitoring. The proposed instrument will have a detection limit of about 1 ppb NH3, measurement dynamic range of at least five orders of magnitude, high long-term stability and reduced calibration requirements. We envision a self contained, rugged commercial ammonia sensor capable of maintaining the specified performance characteristics under long term unattended  field measurement conditions. Incorporation of compact custom made analog and digital electronics and efficient data analysis will make the instrument portable and easy to operate. The proposed sensor will be capable of remote wireless data logging. Estimated power draw of 25 W will allow operating the sensor of a moderately sized solar power supply. The expected price tag for the commercial instrument is about $10,000.

Supplemental Keywords:

portable ammonia sensor, air quality monitoring, air pollution monitoring, NH3 monitoring, air quality and air toxics

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report
  • SBIR Phase II:

    Inexpensive High Performance Continuous Ammonia Monitor  | Final Report