Greenhouse reduces Carbon Dioxide emissions.

17/04/2020
The Dutch horticultural sector aims to be climate-neutral by 2040. Scientists at Wageningen University & Research have therefore recently built a new demonstration greenhouse ‘Greenhouse 2030’ in an effort to find ways to reduce CO2 emissions as well eliminating the need for crop protection chemicals and optimizing the use of water and nutrients.

Greenhouses helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Scientists at Wageningen University & Research (WUR) in the Netherlands have employed Vaisala carbon dioxide sensors in their research greenhouses for over a decade. Carbon dioxide is an extremely important measurement parameter in plant science, not just because plants need carbon dioxide to grow, but also because environmental emissions contribute to climate change, so enormous threats and opportunities surround this gas. As a world renowned research organisation, the value of the institute’s work is partly dependent on the accuracy and reliability of sensors, so it is important that its researchers do not compromise on sensor quality.

Wageningen has been one of the driving forces in research and technology development for greenhouse horticulture in the Netherlands. The institute’s expertise in the greenhouse cultivation of ornamental, fruit and vegetable crops is unique, and together with growers and technology partners, it has developed new cultivation systems, climate control systems, revolutionary greenhouse cover materials and other innovations. The application of these new technologies has made greenhouse horticulture in the Netherlands a world leader.

The Plant Research Institute operates over 100 greenhouse compartments at its Bleiswijk site, which means that researchers are able to generate a wide variety of environmental conditions. Typical environmental variables include light, water, growing medium, nutrients, (biological) pest/disease control, temperature, humidity and of course carbon dioxide (CO2); all of which have significant effects on crop yields.

The Dutch horticultural sector aims to be climate-neutral by 2040. The Wageningen researchers have therefore recently built a new demonstration greenhouse ‘Greenhouse 2030’ for the cultivation of vegetables, fruit and flowers in an effort to find ways to reduce CO2 emissions as well eliminating the need for crop protection chemicals and optimizing the use of water and nutrients. Pests and diseases are preferably tackled biologically, and the energy-efficient greenhouse reuses water and nutrients as much as possible; leading to cleaner cultivation and improved yields.

Carbon Dioxide in Greenhouses
Carbon dioxide is a by-product of many processes in the oil, gas and petrochemical industries, but it is also required by plants to grow through photosynthesis, so Dutch greenhouse operators have collaborated with the country’s industrial sector to utilise this byproduct and thereby contribute in the fight against climate change by lowering the country’s net CO2 emissions. Globally, many greenhouse operators burn natural gas to generate CO2, but this also generates heat that may not be needed in the summer months, so the utilisation of an industrial byproduct is significantly preferable.

Carbon dioxide was first delivered to Dutch greenhouses in 2005 via a pipe network established by the company Organic Carbon Dioxide for Assimilation of Plants (OCAP). Commercial greenhouse operators pay for this CO2 supply, which is largely derived from a bio ethanol plant. A key feature of the Institute’s research is work to optimise the utilisation of CO2, along with other plant growth variables. For example, the Institute has developed a simulation tool for CO2 dosing: the “CO2-viewer.” This programme monitors and displays the effects of a grower’s dosing strategy. For instance, it enables the evaluation of CO2 dosing around midday compared with dosing in the morning. The computational results of such an evaluation take all relevant greenhouse building characteristics and climate control settings into account.

Monitoring Carbon Dioxide

CO2 Probe

After around 10 years of operation, the institute is replacing around 150 of the older model probes with a newer model. The calibration of all probes is checked prior to the commencement of every project, utilizing certified reference gases. It is important that calibration data is traceable, so each probe’s calibration certificate is retained and subsequent calibration checks are documented. A portable CO2 monitor (a Vaisala GM70) with a GMP252 CO2 probe are also used as a validation tool to check installed probes, even though further calibration is not necessary.

Currently, the Institute’s installed probes provide 4-20 mA signals which feed into ‘climate computers’ that are programmed to manage the greenhouses automatically. This system also raises alarms if CO2 levels approach dangerous levels for any reason.

CO2 Sensor Technology
Carbon dioxide absorbs light in the infrared (IR) region at a wavelength of 4.26 μm. This means that when IR radiation is passed through a gas containing CO2, part of the radiation is absorbed, and this absorbance can be measured. The Vaisala CARBOCAP® carbon dioxide sensor features an innovative micro-machined, electrically tunable Fabry-Perot Interferometer (FPI) filter. In addition to measuring CO2 absorption, the FPI filter enables a reference measurement at a wavelength where no absorption occurs. When taking the reference measurement, the FPI filter is electrically adjusted to switch the bypass band from the absorption wavelength to a non-absorption wavelength. This reference measurement compensates for any potential changes in the light source intensity, as well as for contamination or dirt accumulation in the optical path. Consequently, the CARBOCAP® sensor is highly stable over time, and by incorporating both measurements in one sensor, this compact technology can be incorporated into small probes, modules, and transmitters.

The CARBOCAP® technology means that the researchers don’t have to worry about calibration drift or sensor failure.

Carbon Dioxide Plant Science Research
Two projects are currently underway evaluating the effects of different CO2 levels on plant production. One is studying soft fruit and the other tomatoes; however with CO2 playing such an important role in both plant growth and climate change, the value of accurate measurements of this gas continues to grow. Most of the greenhouses are now connected to the institute’s Ethernet and a wide variety of new sensors are continually being added to the monitoring network; providing an opportunity to utilise new ‘smart’ sensors.

Summary
The accuracy, stability and reliability of the CO2 sensors at Bleiswijk are clearly vitally important to the success of the Institute’s research, particularly because data from one greenhouse are often compared with data from others.

The CO2 supply has a cost; it is therefore important that this resource is monitored and supplied effectively so that plant production can be optimized.

Clearly, moves to lower the use of fossil fuels and develop more efficient energy management systems will help to reduce CO2 emissions from the greenhouse sector. However, the importance of CO2 utilization is set to grow, given the 2040 climate-neutral target and the world’s need to find new and better ways to capture CO2 emissions in ways that are both sustainable and economically viable.

#Hortoculture #Environment @VaisalaGroup @_Enviro_News


Gas detection equipment benefits from international co-operation.

08/04/2020

Critical Environment Technologies Canada Inc. (CETCI) was founded by Frank and Shirley Britton in 1995. Since that time, the company has expanded considerably and now employs around 35 people; developing and manufacturing gas detection equipment for global markets. One of the keys to the company’s success has been the relationship that it has built with sensor supplier Alphasense.

Frank’s career in gas detection stretches back to 1982, and when he was first visited by a sales person from Alphasense in 2003, he was immediately impressed with the representative’s technical knowledge. “It was clear that he understood the issues that manufacturers face, and had a good knowledge of the challenging applications in which our equipment is commonly deployed. This was important, because it helped to build trust.”

Following that initial meeting, it was agreed that CETCI would trial some of Alphasense’s electrochemical gas detection sensors, and Frank was pleased to see how well they performed. “It was also very encouraging to note the high level of service that we enjoyed,” he adds. “Even though there were 5,000 miles between us and 8 hours in time difference, we have always received very prompt and useful responses to our service requests.

“In fact, I would go so far as to say that Alphasense has delivered superb levels of service from day one, and as a consequence is one of our best suppliers. It is also very useful that Arthur Burnley from Alphasense visits us every year to review progress and explore new ways for us to work together in the future.”

YesAir portable

As the relationship with Alphasense has grown the range of sensor technologies employed has expanded to include electrochemical, catalytic, optical, metal oxide and PID. For example, some of these sensors are deployed in portable indoor air quality instruments such as the YESAIR range. Available in two models (pump or diffusion) and battery powered with onboard datalogging, the YESAIR instruments have been designed for intermittent or continuous indoor air quality monitoring of temperature, RH, particulates and up to 5 gases. Each can be configured with parameter selection from more than 30 different plug and play gas sensors, as well as a particulate sensor.

CETCI also manufactures fixed gas detection systems, controllers and transmitters that are deployed to monitor hazardous gases; protecting health and safety in confined spaces and indoor environments. Customers are able to select from a range of target gases including Ammonia, Carbon monoxide, Chlorine dioxide, Chlorine, Ethylene, Ethylene oxide, Fluorine, Formaldehyde, Hydrogen, Hydrogen sulphide, Hydrogen chloride, Hydrogen cyanide, Hydrogen fluoride, Nitric oxide, Nitrogen dioxide, Oxygen, Ozone, Phosphine, Silane, Sulfur dioxide, Methane, Propane, Hydrogen, TVOCs and Refrigerants. The company’s products are employed in commercial, institutional, municipal and light industrial markets, and in a wide variety of applications. These include refrigeration plants, indoor swimming pools, water treatment plants, ice arenas, wineries and breweries, airports, hotels, fish farms, battery charging rooms, HVAC systems, food processing plants, vehicle exhausts and many more.

One of the main reasons for CETCI’s success is its ability to develop gas detectors that meet the precise requirements for specific markets. “We are large enough to employ talented people with the skills and experience to develop products that meet the latest requirements,” Frank explains. “But we are not so large that we are uninterested in niche applications – in fact we relish the challenge when a customer asks us to do something new, and this is where our relationship with Alphasense, and the technical support that they can provide, comes into its own.”

The market for gas detection equipment is constantly changing as new safety and environmental regulations are created around the world, and as new markets emerge. Again, the close relationship with Alphasense is vitally important; as new sensors are being developed, CETCI is moving into new markets that are able to utilise these technologies.

New market example – cannabis cultivation
Following the legalisation of marijuana in Canada and some other North American regions, greenhouses and other plant growth rooms have proliferated. These facilities can present a variety of potential hazards to human health. Gas powered equipment may be a source of carbon monoxide; carbon dioxide enrichment systems may be utilised; air conditioning systems can potentially leak refrigerants, and propane or natural gas furnaces may be employed for heating purposes. All of these pose a potential risk, so an appropriate detection and alarm system is necessary.

Responding to market demand, CETCI developed monitoring systems that met the requirements of the market. This included appropriate gas detectors connected to a controller with logging capability and a live display of gas levels. In the event of a leak or high gas concentration, the system can provide an audible or visual alarm, and relays can be configured to control equipment such as the ventilation system or a furnace.

Developing market example – car parking facilities

Car park installation

In recent years, the effects of vehicular air pollution on human health have become better understood, and received greater political and media attention. As a result, the owners and operators of parking facilities have become more aware of the ways in which they can protect their customers and staff.

Carbon monoxide is a major component of vehicle exhaust, and nitrogen dioxide levels are high in the emissions of diesel powered engines. In more modern facilities, hydrogen may accumulate as a result of electric car charging stations. CETCI has therefore developed hazardousgas detection systems to protect air quality in parking locations. This equipment includes output relays which can minimise energy costs by controlling the operation of ventilation systems.

Summarising the secrets to a long and successful partnership in gas detection, Frank says: “One of the most important issues is of course the quality of the products, and we have always been impressed with the fact that Alphasense differentiates itself from other sensor manufacturers by testing every sensor.

“The next important issue is the quality of service; we need sensors to be delivered on time and in perfect condition, and when we have a technical query we have become accustomed to a very prompt response.

“We also value highly the opportunity to develop our businesses together – through regular conversations with Arthur and his colleagues we are able to plan our future product development and marketing strategies, so that we can meet the ever changing needs of the market. This has worked extremely well for the last 17 years and we foresee it doing so for many years to come.”

 

#Environment #Alphasense @cetci @_Enviro_News


Managing NOx gas emissions from combustion.

26/09/2019
Pollution can only be managed effectively if it is monitored effectively.

James Clements

As political pressure increases to limit the emissions of the oxides of nitrogen, James Clements, Managing Director of the Signal Group, explains how the latest advances in monitoring technology can help.

Nitrogen and oxygen are the two main components of atmospheric air, but they do not react at ambient temperature. However, in the heat of combustion, such as in a vehicle engine or within an industrial furnace or process, the gases react to form nitrogen oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). This is an important consideration for the manufacturers of combustion equipment because emissions of these gases (collectively known as NOx) have serious health and environmental effects, and are therefore tightly regulated.

Nitrogen dioxide gas is a major pollutant in ambient air, responsible for large numbers of premature deaths, particularly in urban areas where vehicular emissions accumulate. NO2 also contributes to global warming and in some circumstances can cause acid rain. A wide range of regulations therefore exist to limit NOx emissions from combustion sources ranging from domestic wood burners to cars, and from industrial furnaces and generators to power stations. The developers of engines and furnaces therefore focus attention on the NOx emissions of their designs, and the operators of this equipment are generally required to undertake emissions monitoring to demonstrate regulatory compliance.

The role of monitoring in NOx reduction
NOx emissions can be reduced by:

  • reducing peak combustion temperature
  • reducing residence time at the peak temperature
  • chemical reduction of NOx during the combustion process
  • reducing nitrogen in the combustion process

These primary NOx reduction methods frequently involve extra cost or lower combustion efficiency, so NOx measurements are essential for the optimisation of engine/boiler efficiency. Secondary NOx reduction measures are possible by either chemical reduction or sorption/neutralisation. Naturally, the effects of these measures also require accurate emissions monitoring and control.

Choosing a NOx analyser
In practice, the main methods employed for the measurement of NOx are infrared, chemiluminescence and electrochemical. However, emissions monitoring standards are mostly performance based, so users need to select analysers that are able to demonstrate the required performance specification.

Rack Analyser

Infrared analysers measure the absorption of an emitted infrared light source through a gas sample. In Signal’s PULSAR range, Gas Filter Correlation technology enables the measurement of just the gas or gases of interest, with negligible interference from other gases and water vapour. Alternatively, FTIR enables the simultaneous speciation of many different species, including NO and NO2, but it is costly and in common with other infrared methods, is significantly less sensitive than CLD.

Electrochemical sensors are low cost and generally offer lower levels of performance. Gas diffuses into the sensor where it is oxidised or reduced, which results in a current that is limited by diffusion, so the output from these sensors is proportional to the gas concentration. However, users should take into consideration potential cross-sensitivities, as well as rigorous calibration requirements and limited sensor longevity.

The chemiluminescence detector (CLD) method of measuring NO is based on the use of a controlled amount of Ozone (O3) coming into contact with the sample containing NO inside a light sealed chamber. This chamber has a photomultiplier fitted so that it measures the photons given off by the reaction that takes place between NO and O3.

NO is oxidised by the O3 to become NO2 and photons are released as a part of the reaction. This chemiluminescence only occurs with NO, so in order to measure NO2 it is necessary to first convert it to NO. The NO2 value is added to the NO reading and this is equates to the NOx value.

Most of the oxides of nitrogen coming directly from combustion processes are NO, but much of it is further oxidised to NO2 as the NO mixes with air (which is 20.9% Oxygen). For regulatory monitoring, NO2 is generally the required measurement parameter, but for combustion research and development NOx is the common measurand. Consequently, chemiluminescence is the preferred measurement method for development engineers at manufacturer laboratories working on new technologies to reduce NOx emissions in the combustion of fossil fuels. For regulatory compliance monitoring, NDIR (Non-Dispersive Infrared) is more commonly employed.

Typical applications for CLD analysers therefore include the development and manufacture of gas turbines, large stationary diesel engines, large combustion plant process boilers, domestic gas water heaters and gas-fired factory space heaters, as well as combustion research, catalyst efficiency, NOx reduction, bus engine retrofits, truck NOx selective catalytic reduction development and any other manufacturing process which burns fossil fuels.

These applications require better accuracy than regulatory compliance because savings in the choice of analyser are negligible in comparison with the market benefits of developing engines and furnaces with superior efficiency and better, cleaner emissions.

Signal Group always offers non-heated, non-vacuum CLD analysers for combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power stations because these stations emit lower than average NOx levels. NDIR analysers typically have a range of 100ppm whereas CLD analysers are much more sensitive, with a lower range of 10ppm. Combustion processes operating with de-NOX equipment will need this superior level of sensitivity.

There is a high proportion of NO2 in the emissions of CCGT plants because they run with high levels of air in the combustion process, so it is necessary to convert NO2 to NO prior to analysis. Most CLD analysers are supplied with converters, but NDIR analysers are not so these are normally installed separately when NDIR is used.

In the USA, permitted levels for NOx are low, and many plants employ de-NOx equipment, so CLD analysers are often preferred. In Europe, the permitted levels are coming down, but there are fewer CCGT Large Plant operators, and in other markets such as India and China, permitted NOx emissions are significantly higher and NDIR is therefore more commonly employed.

In England, the Environment Agency requires continuous emissions monitors (CEMS) to have a range no more than 2.5 times the permitted NOx level, so as a manufacturer of both CLD and NDIR analysers, this can be a determining factor for Signal Group when deciding which analysers to recommend. The UK has a large number of CCGT power plants in operation and Signal Group has a high number of installed CEMS at these sites, but very few new plants have been built in recent years.

New NOx analysis technology
Signal Group recently announced the launch of the QUASAR Series IV gas analysers which employ CLD for the continuous measurement of NOx, Nitric Oxide, Nitrogen Dioxide or Ammonia in applications such as engine emissions, combustion studies, process monitoring, CEMS and gas production.

Chemiluminescence Analyser

The QUASAR instruments exploit the advantages of heated vacuum chemiluminescence, offering higher sensitivity with minimal quenching effects, and a heated reaction chamber that facilitates the processing of hot, wet sample gases without condensation. Signal’s vacuum technology improves the signal to noise ratio, and a fast response time makes it ideal for real-time reporting applications. However, a non-vacuum version is available for trace NOx measurements such as RDE (Real-world Driving Emissions) on-board vehicle testing, for which a 24VDC version is available.

A key feature of these latest instruments is the communications flexibility – all of the new Series IV instruments are compatible with 3G, 4G, GPRS, Bluetooth, Wifi and satellite communications; each instrument has its own IP address and runs on Windows software. This provides users with simple, secure access to their analyzers at any time, from almost anywhere.

In summary, it is clear that the choice of analyser is dictated by the application, so it is important to discuss this with appropriate suppliers/manufacturers. However, with the latest instruments, Signal’s customers can look forward to monitoring systems that are much more flexible and easier to operate. This will improve NOx reduction measures, and thereby help to protect both human health and the environment.


Soil carbon flux research!

21/11/2018
Measuring soil carbon flux gives an insight into the health of forest ecosystems and provides feedback on the effects of global warming. This article, from Edinburgh Instruments, outlines how soil CO2 efflux is determined and the applications of soil carbon flux research.

Soil is an important part of the Earth’s carbon cycle.
Pic: pixabay.com/Picography

The Earth’s carbon cycle maintains a steady balance of carbon in the atmosphere that supports plant and animal life. In recent years, concerns about the increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, indicating a problem in Earth’s carbon cycle, has been a prominent global issue.1,2

As a part of a stable carbon cycle, carbon is exchanged between carbon pools including the atmosphere, the ocean, the land and living things in a process known as carbon flux. Carbon exchange typically takes place as a result of a variety of natural processes including respiration, photosynthesis, and decomposition.

Since the industrial age, humans have begun to contribute to carbon exchange with activities such as fuel burning, and chemical processes, which are believed to be responsible for increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations and increasing global temperatures.1-3

Soil carbon flux provides feedback on environmental conditions
Soil is a vital aspect of the Earth’s carbon cycle, containing almost three times more carbon than the Earth’s atmosphere. Carbon is present in soil as ‘solid organic carbon’ including decomposing plant and animal matter. Over time, microbial decomposition of the organic components of soil releases carbon into the atmosphere as CO2.4,5

The amount of carbon present in soil affects soil fertility, plant growth, microbial activity, and water quality. Studying the carbon flux of soil gives an insight into an ecosystem as a whole and specific information about microbial activity and plant growth.4-6

Soil carbon flux can also help us to understand and predict the effects of global warming. As global temperatures increase, is it expected that microbial activity will also increase, resulting in faster plant decomposition and increased CO2 efflux into the atmosphere.5,6

Measuring soil CO2 efflux
Determining soil-surface CO2 efflux can be challenging. Researchers commonly employ a chamber combined with CO2 concentration measurements to determine CO2 efflux. A variety of chambers have been designed for such research, some of which are commercially available.7-10

Closed-chamber systems typically pump air through a gas analyzer, which measures CO2 concentration, before returning the air to the chamber. Soil CO2 efflux is then estimated from the rate of increase of CO2 concentration in the chamber.

Open-chambers pump ambient air into the chamber and measure the change in CO2concentration between the air entering the chamber and the air leaving the chamber to determine the soil CO2 efflux.

Of the two chamber types, open chambers are considered more accurate. Closed chambers tend to underestimate CO2 efflux as increased CO2 concentrations in the chamber cause less CO2 to diffuse out of the soil while the chamber is in place.10,11.

Often, CO2 concentrations in chambers are measured periodically and then extrapolated to give an estimation of CO2 efflux. This method can be inaccurate because CO2 efflux can vary significantly between measurements with changes in environmental conditions.

A further limitation of using chambers for CO2 efflux measurements is that chambers typically only provide measurements in one location, while CO2 efflux has been found to vary widely even in relatively homogeneous environments. The overall result is CO2 efflux data with limited temporal and spatial resolution, that does not reflect the environmental situation as a whole.10,12,13

Naishen Liang

A group of researchers from the National Institute for Environmental Studies (Japan) led by Naishen Liang has designed an automated, multi-chamber chamber system for measuring soil-surface CO2 efflux.

As CO2 concentrations are measured automatically using an infrared gas sensor, COefflux can be determined accurately throughout the experiment. The improved temporal resolution, combined with increased spatial detail resulting from the use of multiple chambers gives a better overview of how CO2 efflux varies with time, location, and environmental conditions within an ecosystem.10

Liang and his team have applied his method to gather information about a range of forest ecosystems. Their automated chambers have been used in a variety of forest locations combined with heat lamps to provide high-resolution, long-term data about the effects of warming on microbial activity and CO2 efflux.

Liang’s research has shown that soil temperatures have a significant effect on COefflux in a wide range of forest environments, information that is vital for understanding how global warming will affect forest ecosystems and the Earth’s carbon cycle as a whole.14-17

All chamber systems for determining CO2 efflux rely on accurate CO2 concentration analysis. Infrared gas analyzers are the most widely used method of instrumentation for determining CO2 concentrations in soil CO2 efflux measurement chambers.8,10,18

Infrared gas sensors, such as gascard sensors from Edinburgh Sensors, are well suited to providing CO2 concentration measurements in soil chambers, and are the sensors of choice used by Liang and his team.

The gascard sensors are robust, low-maintenance, and easy to use compared with other sensors. They provide rapid easy-to-interpret results and can be supplied as either complete boxed sensors (the Boxed Gascard) or as individual sensors (the Gascard NG) for easy integration into automated chambers.19,20


Notes, References and further reading
1. ‘The Carbon Cycle’
2. ‘Global Carbon Cycle and Climate Change’ — Kondratyev KY, Krapivin VF, Varotsos CA, Springer Science & Business Media, 2003.
3. ‘Land Use and the Carbon Cycle: Advances in Integrated Science, Management, and Policy’ — Brown DG, Robinson DT, French NHF, Reed BC, Cambridge University Press, 2013.
4. ‘Soil organic matter and soil function – Review of the literature and underlying data’ — Murphy BW, Department of Environment and Energy, 2014
5. ‘The whole-soil carbon flux in response to warming’ — Hicks Pries CE, Castanha C, Porras RC, Torn MS, Science, 2017.
6. ‘Temperature-associated increases in the global soil respiration record’ — Bond-Lamberty B, Thomson A, Nature, 2010.
7. ‘Measuring Emissions from Soil and Water’ — Matson PA, Harriss RC, Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1995.
8. ‘Minimize artifacts and biases in chamber-based measurements of soil respiration’ — Davidson EA, Savage K, Verchot LV, Navarro R, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 2002.
9. ‘Methods of Soil Analysis: Part 1. Physical Methods, 3rd Edition’ — Dane JH, Topp GC, Soil Science Society of America, 2002.
10. ‘A multichannel automated chamber system for continuous measurement of forest soil CO2 efflux’ — Liang N, Inoue G, Fujinuma Y, Tree Physiology, 2003.
11. ‘A comparion of six methods for measuring soil-surface carbon dioxide fluxes’ — Norman JM, Kucharik CJ, Gower ST, Baldocchi DD, Grill PM, Rayment M, Savage K, Striegl RG, Journal of Geophysical Research, 1997.
12. ‘An automated chamber system for measuring soil respiration’ — McGinn SM, Akinremi OO, McLean HDJ, Ellert B, Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 1998.
13. ‘Temporal and spatial variation of soil CO2 efflux in a Canadian boreal forest’ — Rayment MB, Jarvis PG, Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 2000.
14. ‘High-resolution data on the impact of warming on soil CO2 efflux from an Asian monsoon forest’ — Liang N, Teramoto M, Takagi M, Zeng J, Scientific Data, 2017.
15. ‘Long‐Term Stimulatory Warming Effect on Soil Heterotrophic Respiration in a Cool‐Temperate Broad‐Leaved Deciduous Forest in Northern Japan’ —Teramoto M, Liang N, Ishida S, Zeng J, Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeoscience, 2018.
16. ‘Sustained large stimulation of soil heterotrophic respiration rate and its temperature sensitivity by soil warming in a cool-temperate forested peatland’ — Aguilos M, Takagi K, Liang N, Watanabe Y, Teramoto M, Goto S, Takahashi Y, Mukai H, Sasa K, Tellus Series B : Chemical and Physical Meteorology, 2013.
17. ‘Liang Automatic Chamber (LAC) Network
18. ‘Interpreting, measuring, and modeling soil respiration’ — Ryan MG, Law BE, Biogeochemistry, 2005.
19. ‘Boxed Gascard’
20. ‘Gascard NG’

@edinsensors #Environment #NIESJp

Motors that let you know when it’s time for a service.

30/07/2018

Simone Wendler, food and beverage segment manager for ABB’s motors and generators business, explains what to expect from a new generation of wireless motor sensor that offers powerful data collection and analytics in a small package.

Nearly all of the motor technology that we still use today was invented over a period of seventy years from 1820–1890, with the first commutated DC electric motor invented by British scientist William Sturgeon in 1833. Clearly, production processes — and the resultant demands on equipment — have changed since then and there is a lot that modern businesses can do to keep pace with the latest technology. 

William Sturgeon – 1783 – 1850

It is estimated that electric motors (pdf) account for 45 per cent of global electricity demand. That’s not surprising when you consider that they’re used to drive everything from pumps and fans to compressors in industries as varied as industrial, commercial, agricultural and transport. The problem is that increasingly complex food and beverage segments place a demand on motors to run continuously for long periods of time. This can lead to premature failure of the motor if it is not monitored closely.

In situations like this, carrying out traditional motor condition monitoring is an expensive and time consuming process. For most businesses that use low voltage motors, it’s often cheaper to simply run the motor until it fails and then replace it with another one. The consequence is that plants face unexpected downtime, lost production and possible secondary damage to other equipment. However, this approach can lead to spoilage of perishable food and drink items when the motor fails, forcing factory staff to spend precious time cleaning and preparing equipment to return it to operation.

The rise of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) combined with a greater focus on energy efficiency, means that businesses no longer need to run motors until they fail. Instead, new technology opens up opportunities to make a drastic improvement to operations. With IIoT devices, businesses can make use of better big-data analytics and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication to improve energy efficiency and diagnose faults ahead of time. IIoT devices enable enhanced condition monitoring, allowing maintenance engineers to remotely monitor and collect operational trend data to minimize unexpected downtime.

Although this is great for future smart factories, it’s not feasible for plant managers to replace an entire fleet of analog motors today. Although modern, three-phase induction motors are much more efficient, smaller and lighter than motors from 120 years ago, the basic concept has not changed much. This creates a barrier for businesses that want to adopt smart technology but simply don’t have the resources to overhaul entire systems.

To address this problem, ABB has developed the ABB AbilityTM Smart Sensor for low voltage motors. The smart sensor can be retrofitted to many types of existing low voltage motors in minutes. It attaches to the motor frame without wires and uses Bluetooth Low Energy to communicate operational data to a smartphone app, desktop PC or even in encrypted form to the cloud for advanced analytics.

The sensor collects data including: various types of vibration, bearing health, cooling efficiency, airgap eccentricity, rotor winding health, skin temperature, energy consumption, loading, operating hours, number of starts and RPM speed.

The result is that the motor lets the operator know when it’s time for a service. Advanced analytics from the cloud can also provide advice on the status and health of the entire fleet. Data collected by ABB shows that the smart sensor can help users reduce motor downtime by up to 70 per cent, extend the lifetime by as much as 30 per cent and lower energy use by up to 10 per cent, a clear indicator that predictive, rather than reactive, maintenance increases reliability.

So, while we’ve come a long way since the days of William Sturgeon and the first commercial motor, plant managers looking to take the next steps should look closely at smart sensing and condition monitoring to truly embrace the age of IIoT.

@ABBgroupnews #PAuto #IIoT

Electric vehicle pioneer favours wireless test rigs.

12/02/2018

A company that has been at the forefront of electric vehicle design and development for over 20 years has supplied a test rig based on a wireless torque sensor to a world renowned British University automotive research facility.

Tirius has been built on pioneering work on an all-electric single seat racing car and a series of record breaking vehicles. It continues to bring the latest technology to clients in the form of product design and development and the provision of its range of electric drive systems.

Head of Tirius, Dr Tim Allen, explains: “We are helping the university’s research team develop electric drive train technology typically found in ‘A-Class’ cars, for example urban runarounds and small family hatchbacks. Specifically we are currently looking at permanent magnet traction motors in a number of sizes and configurations, with a view to optimising electronic control for each motor type.”

The research involves running each motor on a test rig through its full output range and mapping its torque output at many points to build up a performance profile. The design of the controller can then be matched to the motor characteristics. This should be able to ensure that the motor runs in its optimum operating zone as much as possible, maximises motor life and regenerative braking, minimising wear, and is as energy efficient as possible.

The design of the test rig is in fact quite simple, thanks to the torque sensor, a TorqSense, as made by Sensor Technology.

“We are pleased to promote TorqSense and the guys at Sensor Technology,” says Tim. “We have been using their kit for many years and in many different roles. The bottom line is that they are easy to use, accurate and great value – partly because they can be re-used once their original project has been completed.

TorqSense is a good choice for this work because its non-contact operation allows rapid set-up during the profile building test runs. It also means extra drag forces are not added to the system, so measurements represent true values and calculations are therefore straightforward.”

TorqSense uses two piezo-electric combs which are simply glued to the drive shaft at right angles to one another. As the shaft turns it naturally twists along its length very slightly and in proportion to the torque, which deforms the combs changing their piezo-signature. This change is measured wirelessly by a radio frequency pick up and is a measure of the instantaneous torque value.

Its data is output to a very user-friendly computer screen which uses graphics to aid easy interpretations. In fact the display on the computer is similar to a car’s dashboard, so most people understand it intuitively. Further, the data is automatically logged for further analysis.

Tim again: “With our type of research work there are some potential errors that we have to look out for, including time-based zero-drift, bending moments on the shaft, bearing losses, temperature fluctuations etc. These are easily accounted for with TorqSense-based test rigs. Normally you have to account for the drag caused by the slip rings, but the wireless TorqSense does not use them, so that is one less calculation – and one less fiddly fixing task.

“A great benefit of TorqSense is the ease with which it can be mounted and dismounted, which simplifies research work where frequent reconfiguring is required.”

The University project will take two or three years to complete and the TorqSense test rig will be worked hard during this time. “At the end of the work, I have no doubt that the TorqSense will be reused in a new research program. It’s what we do in-house at Tirius.”

 

@sensortech #PAuto

Creating 1000 times more power with submersible load measuring pins.

22/07/2016
“Our DBEP load measuring pins and DSCC pancake load cells were ideal to use in this marine application, as both can be readily customised, including dimensions and IP ratings, to make them fully submersible” says Ollie Morcom, Sales Director of Applied Measurements Ltd.

Ocean and tidal currents are a sustainable and reliable energy system. Minesto’s award winning product Deep Green converts tidal and ocean currents into electricity with minimal visual and environmental impact. Minesto’s Deep Green power plant is the only marine power plant that operates cost efficiently in areas with low velocity currents.

DBEP

Pre-assembly of DBEP pin on Deep Green

DBEP Load Pin
• Fully Customisable
• IP68 to Depths of 6500 Metres Available!
• Stainless Steel – Ideal for Marine Applications
Minesto needed to measure the strut force in Deep Green’s kite assembly. The measuring device needed to withstand permanent underwater submersion. “Our load measuring pin’s stainless steel construction and ability to be customised to IP68 submersion rating made this the ideal choice for use in Deep Green’s control system”, explains Ollie Morcom, Applied Measurements’ Sales Director. Their 17-4 PH stainless steel construction makes them perfect for marine and seawater applications. The DBEP load measuring pin was modified to have an IP68 protection rating to a depth of 30 metres and was fitted with a polyurethane (PUR) submersible cable and cable gland, ensuring the entire measuring system was suitable for this underwater marine application.

Deep-Green-cu-219x300The load measuring pin needed to fit within Deep Green’s control measuring system. The load measuring pin’s dimensions can be customised to suit a specific design. As Deep Green needed to retain its small and lightweight construction, the DBEP load measuring pin was manufactured to their exact dimensions, ensuring that it fitted within the control assembly without adding unnecessary additional weight to the structure, thus maintaining the efficiency of the Deep Green kite.

What is Deep Green?
Deep Green is an underwater kite assembly with a wing and a turbine, attached by a tether to a fixed point on the ocean bed. As the water flows over the kite’s wing, the lift force from the water current pushes the kite forward. The rudder steers the kite in a figure of 8 trajectory enabling Deep Green to reach a velocity 10 times faster than the water current, generating 1000 times more power. As the water flows through the turbine, electricity is produced in the gearless generator. The electricity is transmitted through the cable in the tether and along subsea cables on the seabed to the shore. Customised versions of our DBEP load measuring pins and DSCC pancake load cells are used within the control system of the kite.

DSCC_Pancake_Cell

DSCC Pancake Cell

DSCC Pancake Load Cell
• Fully Customisable
• Low Physical Height
•Optional: IP67, IP68 and Fatigue Rated Versions Available
• High Accuracy: <±0.05%/RC
Minesto also needed to monitor the varying tension load of the tether created by the wing. Using our high accuracy DSCC pancake load cells we were again able to make a custom design to fit into their existing assembly. Our pancake load cells are also manufactured from stainless steel and can be modified with alternative threads, custom dimensions, mounting holes, higher capacities and higher protection ratings. The DSCC pancake load cell used in Minesto’s marine power plant was IP68 rated for permanent submersion in seawater to 50 metres depth. The pancake load cells design delivers excellent resistance to bending, side and torsional forces and its low profile makes it ideal where a low physical height is required.

ICA2H Miniature Load Cell Amplifier
Within the pancake load cell we fitted a high performance ICA2H miniature load cell amplifier. The ICA2H miniature amplifier is only Ø19.5mm and 7.6mm high and is designed to fit inside a broad range of strain gauge load cells where a larger amplifier cannot. It has a low current consumption and delivers a 0.1 to 5Vdc high stability output. Using an integrated miniature amplifier kept Deep Green’s control assembly small and lightweight. The ICA2H miniature amplifier was chosen because of its high stability and fast response which is essential for the safe and efficient operation of Deep Green.

“We really enjoyed working with Minesto on this fantastic marine project.”

@AppMeas #PAuto #Power

Complete Tensile Monitoring System Delivered in Under 1 Week.

12/06/2016
“We can deliver a complete tensile monitoring system in under 1 week! Don’t take our word for it, take Clark Masts’!”

Challenge – To Measure Larger Loads in Stainless Steel Guy Cables with a Super-Fast Delivery.

Clark Masts, a telescopic and sectional mast manufacturer, needed a way to accurately monitor the tensile stress in the guy cables of their newly developed super-heavy telescopic masts and they needed it urgently.

With head loads of up to 500kg and extended heights of up to 34m, the measuring instrument needed to accurately handle the larger head loads, taller heights AND be delivered in under 1 week!

“For our new larger mast range with large head loads we needed an instrument with a higher range up to 500kg and in a hurry, so that’s how we decided upon your product.” Gwyn Evans, Clark Masts Systems Limited. Here’s the story.

Cable-and-Close-Up-of-Load-Cell1

DBBSM S-beam load cell and TR150 handheld indicator make a fast & accurate tensile monitoring system.

DBBSM S-Beam Load Cell to the Rescue!!

  • Capacities: 0-1kg up to 0-30,000kg
  • Output: 2mV/V to 2.7mV/V
  • High Accuracy: <±0.03%
  • Customised Versions Available
  • Rod End Bearings & Load Buttons Available
  • Delivery Under 1 Week!
Load-Cell-on-guy-rope-cu-190x300

Tensile strength on guys

With huge capacities of up to 30,000kg and an accuracy of <±0.03% of the rated capacity, the highly accurate DBBSM S-beam load cell really is the knight in stainless steel armour. Not only can it efficiently handle the larger loads in the guys, it can also be supplied in less than 1 week! Its tough construction makes it ideal to use in the harsh outdoor conditions on the guy cables.

Rod Ends and Mounting Accessories
Clark Masts were supplied with a DBBSM-1000kg S-beam load cell and additional rod end bearings to enable effective tensile testing of the larger loads in the guy cables. The rod end bearings serve to:

  • Centralise the Tensile Force Through the Primary Axis.
  • Reduce any Extraneous Forces.
  • Improve Overall Performance and Accuracy of the Load Cell.

“By using the DBBSM S-beam load cell with the rod end bearings, Clark Masts increased the overall efficiency of their tensile monitoring system.” said Robert Davies, Applied Measurements‘ Production Director.

TR150 Handheld Display
Along with the DBBSM-1000kg s-beam load cell they also supplied a 7 digit LCD handheld indicator. The TR150 handheld indicator has an IP65 rating making it a perfect partner to the DBBSM S-beam load cell, as both can be used in the harsh outdoor environments of Clark Masts tensile testing. Its dual range function means the display can be calibrated in 2 different engineering units i.e. newtons and kg or can be used to calibrate 2 separate load cells using just 1 display. It is powered by 2x AA batteries which can last up to 450 hours of continuous use in low power mode.

Their DBBSM S-beam load cell can be supplied in less than 1 week and with our ex-stock TR150 handheld indicators mean we can offer a complete tensile monitoring system in under 1 week!

@AppMeas #Pauto

Innovative biosensors incite use in non-traditional applications.

07/08/2015

Besides healthcare and food, biosensor devices are penetrating the mobile, security and automotive segments, notes Frost & Sullivan

Click image  for complimentary access to more information on this research.

Click image  for complimentary access to more information on this research.

The biosensors market is proving highly attractive as it exhibits continuous growth in applications, penetration into newer sectors, and development of devices resulting in higher revenue year after year. The global biosensors space has seen the entry of multiple participants each year with none having exited the market so far.

Recent analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Analysis of the Global Biosensors Market, finds that the market generated revenues of $11.53 (€10.54) billion in 2014 which is estimated to more than double to $28.78 (€26.31) billion in 2021. Though innovation has facilitated biosensor penetration into a number of diverse markets, healthcare and food pathogen detection are currently the largest application segments.

“With health and wellness becoming a priority for all concerned in the value chain – individuals, governments, healthcare institutions, diagnostic device developers, system integrators, the medical fraternity and insurance companies – biosensors are acquiring more importance,” said Frost & Sullivan Measurement & Instrumentation Industry Principal Dr. Rajender Thusu. “For instance, strict food safety regulations enacted by federal governments to improve the health of consumers, require the use of biosensors for compliance monitoring.”

Under these regulations, meats, milk and milk products must be tested for the absence of a number of pathogens before being processed and supplied for consumption. Along with the rising trend of testing fresh vegetables and processed food for the presence of different pathogens, these norms are fuelling the adoption of testing kits.

Significantly, the use of biosensors is expanding to diverse end-user markets. While security agencies are using biosensors to detect drugs, banned substances and explosives, biosensors are also a valuable tool for monitoring health of soldiers.

Realizing the benefits, biosensor manufacturers have started to move to mobile platforms which will enable users to monitor key health parameters in real-time. Biosensor relevance in automotive applications will grow with the use of cognitive biosensors to boost driver alertness and enable safety.

Manufacturers must strive harder to meet the stringent and specific requirements of a number of industries such as wearable medical devices, food processing, environmental, bio-defense, and automotive.

Biosensor manufacturers must also look into other issues such as the long detection times associated with existing test methods in some applications. As samples need to be enriched in some cases before one can test for the presence of pathogens.

“Several companies are investing in R&D to innovate and improve biosensor technology, make it highly sensitive, and develop technology platforms to reduce detection time appreciably,” noted Dr. Thusu. “Since the long development cycle of biosensor devices is another challenge, manufacturers are trying to address this by deploying both optical and non-optical technologies.Rapid detection biosensor devices are the need of the hour for a number of applications.”

Further, manufacturers are developing nano-biosensors, with features to detect pathogens at a concentration as low as one cell per five milliliters of water. Advanced-stage research is also being conducted to create unique biosensors that can detect cell-to-cell interactions in therapeutic monitoring.