Monitoring and managing pollution zones is both a challenging and critical task for authorities attempting to adhere to the EU directive for air quality.
Pollution monitoring is particularly important as many of the gases released as a by-product of combustion are toxic. Not only can these gases cause adverse health in people that are vulnerable or repeatedly exposed to them, they are also primary contributors to climate change.
There are various ways we can measure toxic gas concentrations. Typically, fixed ambient air monitoring sites are constructed which will contain high precision instrumentation to detect trace gas. Whilst these monitoring stations do give you extremely accurate information on the composition of the local air we are breathing in, they are limited in a number of ways. These include:
- Localised Monitoring Zones: They only monitor air quality in the immediate vicinity of the monitoring station. Air is drawn in through inlets and sampled. However, air outside of the immediate region is not sampled. This could be a problem if the pollution source is wider ranging and not just a point source.
- Fixed Locations: These units are often fixed to a single monitoring location. Pollution zones are dynamic as are socio–economic trends. High risk pollution zones can shift over relatively short periods of time as a result of a socio-economic influences and it may become apparent that the fixed site becomes obsolete as a result. Relocating often is costly and can involve lengthy planning permission procedures.
- High Operating and Maintenance Costs: Highly sensitive equipment often needs re-calibration to ensure that there is no drift and it is working to desired specification. Re-calibration is often expensive and time consuming.
The Ambient Air Monitoring System (AAMS) is a step away from traditional fixed monitoring techniques and allows multiple units to measure pollution and offer insight that has not been previously possible.
A new approach?
The inception of the internet of things has allowed us to change the way we monitor any parameter, whether it be indoors or in the environment. Wireless connectivity has allowed us to create networks with multiple devices linked in to a master station. This allows simultaneous monitoring of each and every site.
The AAMS falls perfectly within the Internet of Things (IoT) philosophy. With the system housed in a discreet enclosure the unit can be moved anywhere quickly and easily. With up to 8 x toxic sensors, a real time particulate monitor and up to 40 additional environmental and meteorological sensors it offers unrivalled flexibility and scope of measurement.
It also can be part of a network of infinite size, both in terms of number of stations and coverage.
Each AAMS comes with a full range of connectivity options. These include:
- 3G/EDGE modem – full cloud based network capability
- WiFi Router – Local Area Network
- UHF radio transmitter/ receiver communication – Local Area Network
The AAMS is the ideal solution for monitoring pollution in and around cities. Each site is embedded onto a map with interactive updates of most recent data at that station presented. If a station is moved, a simple adjustment in the software will locate the AAMS and reposition the station on the map.
Whilst the AAMS may not have the measurement precision of the typical fixed ambient air monitoring unit, it does have a significantly lower cost of purchase. This means that multiple units can be procured for the equivalent price of a single fixed unit. Using multiple units to monitoring a pollution zone gives a more accurate overview of environmental characteristics of an area of interest. This is because multiple units measuring an area of interest will reduce the measurement uncertainty compared to that of single measurement station.
- We are seeing a shift to less precise yet more denser sensor networks in the UK. The Met Office recently announced that it had bought a super computer which would rely on data from less precise sensors but at significantly high volume of data. This will reduce the error associated with the less precise sensor and provide a more accurate picture of weather right across the UK instead of relying on singular high precision AWS.
The AAMS monitors conditions in real time. If pollution levels begin to rise, alarms and SMS will automatically be sent out to alert key stakeholders. These stakeholders can then login to the software to assess the pollution and take action if necessary. The data fed into our cloud based software will then be analysed in accordance with EU air quality directive requirements. Additional trending and mathematical functions can be added easily and give up to date information of the current pollution zone as required by the client.
The AAMS is particularly suited for fenceline monitoring of processing and manufacturing sites. Using multiple AAMS, in and around the process site will give stakeholders key information to the movement of pollution and the likely sources.
For more information on the AAMS please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org