Pneumatic Focusing Gas Chromatography: A Continuous, Automated, Ambient, Fenceline and Fugitive Emissions Monitoring Instrument

EPA Contract Number: EPD04020
Title: Pneumatic Focusing Gas Chromatography: A Continuous, Automated, Ambient, Fenceline and Fugitive Emissions Monitoring Instrument
Investigators: Hard, Thomas M.
Current Investigators: Hard, Thomas M. , O'Brien, Thomas J.
Small Business: VOC Technologies Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2004 through August 31, 2004
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , SBIR - Air Pollution , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


VOC Technologies, Inc., will use the new technique of Pneumatic Focusing Gas Chromatography (PFGC, patent pending) in the development and testing of a commercial, continuous, speciated monitor for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). This instrument is capable of continuous, remote operation for periods of weeks at a time, transmitting data over a network connection or cellular telephone and achieving sensitivity of 50 pptV for benzene with a 250 cc air sample injected directly into the portable instrument.

The goal of this Phase I research project is to produce a PFGC instrument that costs less than $15,000. Prototypes will be configured with series photoionization detectors (PIDs) and flame ionization detectors (FIDs) that will enable dual response for some types of analytes, including aromatic hydrocarbons (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes). Detector comparison will determine whether a single PID, a single FID, or a dual detector instrument would be most useful. The FID has the advantages of: (1) requiring no maintenance, (2) universal sensitivity to VOCs and HAPs, and (3) potential for internal calibration on every sample using ambient methane concentrations while requiring compressed flame gases hydrogen and air or oxygen. The PID detector does not require compressed gases, but has limited response for some types of analytes and suffers from aging of the lamp. The PFGC instruments will be laboratory calibrated and field compared in a cooperative effort between VOC Technologies, Inc., and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality using standard U.S. Environmental Protection Agency protocols for canister sampling, including Method TO-14.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 1 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, Pneumatic Focusing Gas Chromatography, PFGC, emissions monitoring, volatile organic compound, VOC, hazardous air pollutant, HAP, photoionization detector, PID, flame ionization detector, FID, compressed gas, EPA., RFA, Scientific Discipline, PHYSICAL ASPECTS, Air, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, POLLUTANTS/TOXICS, RESEARCH, particulate matter, Air Quality, Environmental Chemistry, Chemicals, Monitoring/Modeling, Analytical Chemistry, Monitoring, Environmental Monitoring, Atmospheric Sciences, State of Matter, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, atmospheric measurements, human health effects, chemical characteristics, air quality models, monitoring stations, HAPS, emissions measurement, hazardous air pollutants, VOCs, photoionization, air quality model, air sampling, modeling, gas chromatography, particulate matter mass, human exposure, atmospheric aerosols, continuous emissions monitoring, VOC emission controls, pneumatic focusing gas chromatography, aerosol, modeling studies, air quality field measurements, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), chemical speciation sampling, ambient air pollution, aerosol analyzers

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report
  • SBIR Phase II:

    Pneumatic Focusing Gas Chromatography: A 3-in-1 Continuous, Automated, Ambient-Fenceline-Fugative Emissions Instrument  | Final Report