Final Report: Inexpensive High Performance Continuous Ammonia MonitorEPA Contract Number: EPD14015
Title: Inexpensive High Performance Continuous Ammonia Monitor
Investigators: Vakhtin, Andrei B
Small Business: Vista Photonics, Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
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
The overall goal of this Project is to develop an innovative, inexpensive optical technology and rugged and portable instrumentation for highly sensitive, selective and continuous measurement of atmospheric ammonia (NH3) for air pollution monitoring. Environmental studies have proven that ammonia presents a significant environmental hazard; therefore, accurate monitoring and control of NH3 concentration is required to maintain appropriate air quality levels. Atmospheric ammonia contributes both 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 demands portability, low power draw and continuous monitoring capability, since long-term measurements in remote locations are often needed.
The Phase I research has demonstrated ammonia measurement precision and detection limit of 1 ppb with signal averaging over 12–14 s, fast response time (10–30 s) to small step changes in ammonia mole fraction over a wide range of ammonia concentration levels and high selectivity of ammonia detection. Long-term measurements provide evidence that the method is characterized by high long-term stability (about 1 ppb at low-ppb ammonia levels), resulting in reduced calibration requirements for the Phase II prototype and commercial instrument. Ammonia measurement dynamic range exceeding 5 orders of magnitude has been demonstrated. The Phase II prototype system design is outlined. Incorporation of compact, custom-designed analog and digital electronics will make the instrument portable, rugged and easy to operate. The instrument will be capable of remote data logging. Estimated power draw of less than 25 W (including the long-range wireless modem) will allow operating the sensor off a moderate-size solar power supply.