Integrated Downhole Gas Chromatograph and Automated Sampler for Direct Push

EPA Contract Number: 68D00271
Title: Integrated Downhole Gas Chromatograph and Automated Sampler for Direct Push
Investigators: Dvorak, Michael
Current Investigators: Jarski, Paul
Small Business: Dakota Technologies Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: II
Project Period: September 1, 2000 through September 1, 2002
Project Amount: $225,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2000) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


During Phase II, Dakota Technologies, Inc. (DTI) will refine the downhole gas chromatograph (dhGC) prototype that was successfully field demonstrated in Phase I. The dhGC is a complete high-performance gas chromatograph that operates inside a direct push probe. The innovation provides chemically specific, quantitative data that compare favorably to data provided by conventional gas chromatographs in fixed-base laboratories. The data provided by the dhGC prototype are available not in weeks, days, or even hours after the sample is collected, but in less than 5 minutes. The approach completely avoids discrete sample collection, sample manipulation steps, or the need for the participation of a field chemist. The only operator requirement is to send a single-keystroke trigger signal once the depth of interest is reached. Independent measurements can be taken at different depths during the same push. The technique can be applied to the entire concentration range from below maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) to free product. Individually and collectively, these attributes represent an enormous advance over the current state-of-the-art for site characterization and monitoring (SCAM). One unit with a photoionization detector (PID) and another with a halogen-specific detector (XSD) will be built and tested in Phase II.

Phase II technical activities include further miniaturization and refinement of several key components, including the column support apparatus, the gas-valving manifold, the associated control electronics, and the water management system. Calibration of instrument response to analyte type, soil conditions, and push protocol will be carried out using a novel laboratory push emulator recently constructed at DTI. Field testing will be performed at local sites that provide a broad spectrum of contaminants and geological conditions. The Phase II option funds will be used to integrate the dhGC with a cone

penetrometer for simultaneous collection of stratigraphic information and expanded field testing.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, monitoring, engineering, EPA., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecosystem Protection, Monitoring/Modeling, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Environmental Monitoring, Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Ecological Indicators, gas chromatography, dhGC, sampling, downhole gas chromatograph

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report

  • SBIR Phase I:

    Miniature Membrane Inlet Gas Chromatograph for Cone Penetrometers  | Final Report