The Application of a Laser Based Open-Path Spectrometer for the Measurement of Fugitive Emissions and Process Control.

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Courtesy of Boreal Laser Inc.

ABSTRACT
In this paper examples of field operations are presented explaining the application of a new laser based spectrometer and incorporating real-time dispersion modeling techniques to measure fugitive emissions from land fills, gas processing facilities, chemical plants, aluminium smelters, etc.

Whilst open-path FTIR spectrometers can measure a variety of gases, they suffer from the drawbacks of being large, expensive and of limited range. Also, uncertainty in results caused by spectral overlap has been a matter of concern to regulatory organizations. The laser spectrometer described in this paper is a small(5kg), portable device based on readily available telecommunications technology.

Accuracy is determined by an on board reference cell whose calibration is traceable to NIST standards. The instrument is tuned to a unique absorption line for a specific gas (CH4, H2S, CO2, HF, HCN, NH3), and as a result is immune from line competition. Typical detection sensitivity of <1ppm over path lengths in excess of several hundred metres is observed.

Descriptions in the use of dispersion modeling techniques and tracer gases, in conjunction with the laser spectrometer, hereafter referred to as a GasFinder, are given in order to estimate the fugitive emission rates from various sources.

Keywords
Tuneable Diode Laser, Gas detection, Spectrometer, Open path, Dispersion modeling, Environmental monitoring.

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