The U.K.’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) recently enhanced its ability to measure and map airborne emissions by putting a sophisticated differential absorption lidar (DIAL) instrument on a mobile truck. The laser-based system provides accurate readings in a self-contained mobile laboratory that can be shipped or trucked to its destination.
The DIAL instrument can detect and measure emissions from up to 3 kilometers away using optical techniques and tools that include a tuneable diode laser, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and broadband sources. The system can be tuned to specific gases and can carry additional measurement equipment for meteorological observations.
The mobile laboratory is most efficient at measuring emissions from tanks, flares and diffuse sites such as landfills. This expertise is being tapped in a Europe-wide public-private innovation partnership in the Fugitive Methane Emissions project, which has been awarded a €1.266 million grant as part of a larger climate initiative.
Methane has an impact on global warming that is between 34 and 86 times that of carbon dioxide over 100 and 20 years, respectively. A consortium headed by NPL will develop and test new methane measurement instruments for shale gas extraction, municipal waste water treatment plants and gas distribution. Work is under way to measure fugitive methane emissions at landfill sites and water treatment plants.