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.