Tekran Instruments Corporation
Tekran® Instruments Corporation is the world’s leading manufacturer of advanced systems for ambient air, laboratory analysis, and point-source mercury monitoring. With pioneering expertise in cold vapor atomic fluorescence detection, Tekran® has become the trusted source for accurately and reliably measuring ultra-trace levels of mercury. Tekran® has provided more automated air analyzers and Hg-CEM monitoring systems than any other supplier worldwide.
Tekran was founded in Toronto, Canada in 1989 to develop custom analytical instrumentation for environmental analysis. Our first analyzer, the Tekran 2537, was introduced in 1993 and is now widely accepted as the gold standard for automated ambient air analysis of mercury. Tekran continues to expand and improve our product lines, which are focused exclusively on instruments and systems for mercury measurement. We now offer systems for ambient air mercury speciation monitoring, automated analysis of total mercury and methyl mercury in environmental samples, total mercury in natural gas, and mercury continuous emission monitoring of coal-fired power plants and other industrial emission sources. We also offer a wide range of secondary equipment to support our main product lines.
What We Do
Tekran is an international leader in environmental measurement technology, serving the needs of industry, government and research institutions with applications ranging from pure research to primary manufacturing. We revolutionized continuous mercury monitoring through the use of cold vapor atomic fluorescence spectrophotometry and pure gold preconcentration. Tekran’s systems for ultra-trace measurement of mercury in ambient air, stack emissions and environmental samples are extraordinarily sensitive and robust with detection limits of less than 1 picogram absolute and practical immunity to interfering compounds.
Tekran is known worldwide for the accuracy and dependability of our equipment and will continue to exceed customer expectations. From developing the industry’s first proven ambient air analyzer and mercury Hg-CEMs, Tekran has been at the forefront of the mercury measurement industry since 1992. For example, the Tekran 3310 Elemental Mercury Calibration Source was chosen by the US National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) as the “NIST Prime” which is used to certify all other Hg-CEM calibration sources.
Tekran’s research and development efforts continue to be headed by cofounders Frank Schaedlich and Dan Schneeberger. Our unique solutions and industry leading designs have been awarded numerous patents. With our growing staff of research engineers and technicians, the Tekran team leads the way with employee commitment to innovation, quality and customer service. As we pursue future opportunities, we know Tekran has the people, technology and resources to measure up to your standards and ours.
As a member of the TSI family, Tekran is backed by world-class design, manufacturing and customer support facilities that position us to meet the demands of a global market. TSI Incorporated provides Tekran with the ability quickly ramp production, delivering large scale mercury monitoring solutions to industry. For more information, see www.tsi.com.
From its inception in Toronto, Canada by the two founders in 1989, Tekran has steadily expanded its staff, capabilities, and facilities locations. Beyond Toronto, we have offices in Knoxville, TN, Seattle, WA, and manufacturing and administrative support in Shoreview, MN. We have also expanded our global reach with key partners who represent Tekran in Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and Australia. The success of our company is a direct result of the quality of our technology, our personnel, and commitment to our customers. Tekran remains focused exclusively on production of instrumentation for mercury measurement and the attendant support services. Our core development team of engineers, chemists and project managers has over a decade or more of experience in their respective fields. Below are some of the key personnel in the Tekran family.
Tekran frequently attends scientific conferences to share our research in the oral presentation sessions, set up information booths in the vendor sections, offer classroom sessions on topics pertinent to low-level mercury analysis for conference participants, and to learn from our colleagues and customers. In addition, our Hg-CEM division occasionally offer outreach workshops to keep our customers up to date on the latest information, analytical techniques, and hardware updates. Below is a list of recent and upcoming conferences in which Tekran will participate.
Periodically, Tekran publishes newsletters to announce new developments and activities of our customers. If you missed one of our publications, all can be downloaded in this section. Let us know if you would like to be added to our mailing list.
- Technical Program: Sixth International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant (Minamata, 2001)
- Technical Program: Fifth International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant (Rio de Janeiro, 1999)
- Special Event: EPRI Nevada Flux Measurement Intercomparison
- Trade Show Tricks: The HALITOSIS Program
Mercury is a highly toxic element that enters the environment through both natural and human-linked (anthropogenic) pathways. Natural sources of mercury to air include the oceans, land, biomass burning and volcanoes. Since mercury is an element and cannot be destroyed, one big challenge for mercury scientists is to understand how much of mercury in the environment is due to anthropogenic sources. The major categories of anthropogenic sources of mercury to air are fossil fuel combustion (mainly coal), metal production, industrial and artisanal gold production, cement production, chlor-alkali industry and waste incineration. Annual average anthropogenic mercury emissions to air are estimated to be approximately 2000 tonnes (2000 megagrams/year), but may be up to nearly 3000 tones. Annual average natural emissions to air are estimated to be at least 2000 tonnes with the higher end estimates over 5000 tonnes.
The toxicity of mercury is largely dependent on the chemical form and the path of exposure. The most toxic form for dietary intake is methylmercury [CH3Hg]. Exposure of animals to methylmercury affects the immune system, alters genetic and enzyme systems, and damages the nervous system. Methylmercury is also a teratogen, which means it is particularly damaging to developing embryos, which are 5 to 10 times more sensitive than adults. The most toxic form for exposure through inhalation is elemental mercury (Hg0). At sufficient levels, continued inhalation exposure to elemental mercury causes tremors, gingivitis, and excitability. At very high levels, inhalation of elemental mercury can cause death. High levels of elemental mercury are usually confined to industrial settings or mercury spill events. Since elemental mercury is difficult to absorb in the digestive system, there is minimal effect from dietary intake.
Once present in aquatic ecosystems, elemental and inorganic mercury can undergo chemical transformations to methylated mercury species and enter the food web. Because methylmercury is not easily purged from organisms, biomagnification of up to 107 can occur in the aquatic food chain. Harm to upper level predators such as birds, sea mammals and humans can result when consuming tissues with high levels of methyl mercury (mainly fish). Acute exposure to high levels of methyl mercury contamination has been well documented in cases such as Minamata Bay, Japan in the 1950’s and Iraq in the 1970s. Recent low-level exposure studies have been used to set government guidelines for methyl mercury consumption nationally and internationally. New studies also suggest that methyl mercury concentrations in rice are a potential concern.
Considerable effort has been spent trying to understand how mercury cycles through the environment. A major advancement in understanding began in the early 1990s when scientists began using new ultra-trace level mercury detection instruments, speciation methods and ultra-clean sampling techniques. Ice and sediment core records indicate that environmental mercury levels have increased substantially over pre-industrial levels. Direct release of mercury to aquatic ecosystems has been dramatically reduced in Europe and North America, but continues to be an area of concern for emerging and developing countries. However, research has shown that atmospheric emission, dispersal, transformation and subsequent wet and dry deposition is the primary route for mercury contamination in remote aquatic ecosystems far removed from direct sources of contamination. The best control strategy to prevent biomagnification is to limit mercury releases to the environment. While not practical to control natural sources such as volcanoes and geological deposits, it is possible to control anthropogenic releases from activities such as manufacturing, mining, and power production. In the past 10 years, there has been an increased focus on developing mercury control policies and regulations at the national and international level. The increased global emphasis reducing mercury emissions and use provides support new control technology development, new and better monitoring equipment and advance research studies.