Tuesday, 23 June 2015
In the process of nurturing young salmon from the egg stage until they are large enough to be shipped out to fish farms after 1 year or so , large amounts of fresh water pumped through various stages in the process including holding tanks are injected with O3 (Ozone)to prevent any bacteria growth and to ensure the water is ultra clean.
Ozone gas has a detrimental health affect and if inhaled at low concentrations can cause breathing difficulties. The WEL (worker exposure level)is 200ppb so even at these low concentrations this colourless gas can be a danger in the work place .
At the Furnace site, 3 specific areas were defined as needing continuous gas monitoring and at Yetts of Muckhart , one area was also defined.
These areas were confined spaces where the Ozonator systems producing Ozone for injection into the water source are located.
A 2BTech, model 100L Ozone monitor was installed in each of the confined spaces in NEMA enclosures providing real time , continuous monitoring with a pre-set alarm level at 100ppb connected to a visual flashing indicator.
All the installations are measuring a background of around 10-15ppb Ozone , quite safe, but we have already measured one confined space where the level exceeded the WEL of 200ppb on one occasion .
Air Monitors will continue to support the customer and visit site every 6 months to check , service and calibrate the instruments ensuring peace of mind for the customer and his employees.
Friday, 29 May 2015
Following the Supreme Court’s recent judgement on the UK’s air quality, the new Government has been ordered to take urgent action to reduce urban pollution that is causing thousands of premature deaths in Britain. ITV’s ‘Tonight’ programme on 19th May 2015, entitled ‘The Air That We Breathe’ highlighted the problem with portable aethalometers from Air Monitors, fitted to four people during their normal working day.
The participants included ITV presenter Fiona Foster, an A&E nurse from Wolverhampton, a radio DJ from Leeds and a bike mechanic from Derbyshire. The results were assessed by Prof. Frank Kelly from King’s College London, and revealed alarming conclusions. Each of the group was exposed to high levels of black carbon, which is a product of combustion, from diesel engines for example. These high levels were at their greatest whilst the participants were driving, cycling, jogging and travelling on a train.
Air Monitors Managing Director Jim Mills commented: “The programme painted a bleak picture of the UK’s air quality, but it was good to see this problem being given the publicity it deserves, because air pollution causes more premature deaths than alcohol, obesity or road traffic accidents.
“We were pleased to supply aethalometers for this programme because black carbon is a very good indicator of air quality; not only are these tiny particles a serious health threat, but they are also a strong indicator for diesel emissions which also contain the other pollutant of great concern, nitrogen dioxide.”
The Tonight programme ended with a more positive note, outlining the initiatives that are under way to reduce air pollution. Vehicle engines are becoming cleaner and inevitably there will be an expansion of low emission zones. Looking forward Jim says: “Clearly, there is an urgent need to reduce air pollution and the good news from the technology sector is that new web-enabled instruments have been developed to enable us to monitor in more places, more easily and at a lower cost, so that we can accurately check the air that we breathe.”
For further information visit: www.itv.com/news/2015-05-19/tonight-the-air-we-breathe/ and the full programme can be viewed on ITV Player until 20th June.
Friday, 22 May 2015
Sarah Tellis, our Sales Manager with Marcus Pattison, the Event Organiser of the AQE Show last month. Marcus had just announced that we had won the competition of inviting the most delegates to the show by registering through our unique link.
The prize is £1500 worth of free advertising to use with Environmental Technology Publications.
Friday, 01 May 2015
Congratulations to Paul Maitland from IBI who won our competition at the AQE show to win a Kindle Fire.
Here he is with Jim Mills who presented it to him in person.
Monday, 09 March 2015
In line with the theme of the AQE Show’s Demonstration Arena, Air Monitors’ presence at the event will be dominated by a ‘Monitoring on the move’ theme. Taking place in Telford’s International Conference Centre on April 22nd and 23rd, the AQE (Air Quality & Emissions) Show will attract visitors from all over the world to see the latest technologies, techniques and methods for the measurement and monitoring of air quality in emissions, in the workplace and in ambient air, see www.AQEShow.com.
Just as the demand for better air quality in towns and cities grows, public sector budgets are diminishing, so the need for better, more effective, lower cost monitoring has never been greater. The Air Monitors’ exhibition stands (No’s 3 & 4) and Workshop presentations at AQE 2015 will therefore feature the latest technologies for: improving spatial and temporal monitoring; reducing capital and operational costs, and improving data access.
Reference monitoring stations demand significant capital and operational costs, however, once installed and regularly serviced, they are capable of achieving high levels of sensitivity and accuracy, with high data capture rates. These stations are therefore essential for long term monitoring programmes and for checking the accuracy of lower cost monitors, such as the AQMesh pods which will feature heavily at AQE 2015.
Weighing less than 2Kg, AQMesh pods are completely wireless, using battery power and GPRS communications to transmit data for the five main air polluting gases to 'the cloud' where sophisticated data management generates air quality readings as well as monitoring hardware performance. The pods can be mounted anywhere and moved easily, helping to lower the cost of monitoring whilst offering a better opportunity to measure the air that people are breathing.
Air Monitors MD Jim Mills says that he is delighted with the performance of the AQMesh pods: “A trial in Glasgow for example has run two pods alongside a reference monitor as part of transport Scotland's sensor rotation project, and the NO2 readings are following the reference station very closely (see graph). A regression analysis shows R2 figures of 0.71 and 0.77 for the two pods against the reference station, and R2 is 0.96 when comparing the two pods with each other! Similar results are being produced elsewhere in the UK and in other European countries, so we are very excited about the potential for AQMesh.”
The AQMesh monitoring interval is user-selectable from 1 minute to 30 minutes, and is ideal for temporary or permanent installations in locations that previously would have been impractical. For example, one of the demonstrations at the AQEShow will include an AQMesh pod mounted on a bike, mimicking the work undertaken by ClientEarth’s Healthy Air Campaign at Vivienne Westwood’s ‘Cleaner Air Bike Ride’ in Camden last year, at which AQMesh monitoring data highlighted the contrast in air quality between Camden Market and Hampstead Heath.
In order to derive more detailed spatial and temporal air quality data, a faster monitoring rate would be necessary, and this will be available with the DUVAS (Differential Ultra Violet Absorption Spectrometer) DV3000; a portable, battery powered, multigas monitor. With high time-resolution and near reference monitor accuracy, the DV3000, which launches in June 2015, will enable air quality monitoring on the move - whilst mounted on a vehicle for example. The AQE Demonstration Arena will therefore feature a car, fitted with DUVAS monitoring system.
As a personal air quality monitor, the microAeth® is the world's first ever real-time, pocket-sized Black Carbon aerosol monitor. Able to operate continuously for up to 24 hours on a single battery charge, this palm-size instrument is small enough to be worn by a person, and will also be demonstrated by Air Monitors’ staff.
Ideally, mobile air quality monitors should be lightweight and battery powered, however, data collection should also be simple and reliable, so Air Monitors will also demonstrate Envirologger ‘cloud’ based data collection technology. The ‘Internet of Things’ provides significant opportunities for environmental monitoring, and demonstrations will include small, wireless carbon dioxide sensors that can be located (up to 80 of them) as much as 2 miles away from an Envirologger gateway.
The Air Monitors stand will also feature two major new toxic gas detectors: the Thermo TVA2020 FID/PID VOC detector and the innovative Honeywell SPM Flex Chemcassette® tape-based gas detector.
In addition to product demonstrations, Air Monitors will also run four free-to-attend workshops at AQE 2015:
1. Industrial VOC Monitoring – Wednesday, Room 4, at 12 noon.
2. The Internet of (Environmental) Things - Wednesday, Room 1, at 1:30pm.
3. New Airborne Dust Monitoring Technologies, Thursday, Room 4, at 10am.
4. AQMesh – Low Cost Ambient Air Monitor, Thursday, Room 2, at 12 noon.
The Air Monitors exhibition stand at AQE 2015 will also feature fixed air quality monitors. For example, offering customers a complete choice, a family of particulate monitors are available including the Thermo Scientific TEOM, the TEOM FDMS and the Thermo BAM, in addition to the new FIDAS (Fine Dust Analysis System) which provides additional information on both particle size distribution from 0.18 – 30 microns, and on particle number in each size range. FIDAS also provides continuous real-time simultaneous mass concentration measurements of TSP, PM1, PM2.5 and PM10. This technology also offers cost reduction opportunities – visit www.airmonitors.co.uk for a link to register for AQE 2015, which provides free entry to the exhibition and workshops, and complimentary refreshments, lunch and parking.
Friday, 27 February 2015
Advanced technology improves airborne pathogen measurement
Many traditional methods for detecting airborne sources of contamination rely on the deposition on these materials on to a surface. For example, surface swabs might be taken, or bioaerosol sampling might be undertaken with a sampler that relies on the impact of biological particles on to a solid growth medium. “These methods are unable to deliver an accurate measurement of airborne load,” says Air Monitors MD Jim Mills. “In contrast, the ‘Coriolis µ’ employs a wet-walled cyclone technology that improves bioaerosol sampling for bacteria, pollen, endotoxins, viruses and fungal spores.”
By passing sample air through liquid in a cyclone, the Coriolis µ is able to collect airborne particles in a liquid at a high flow rate (300 l/m) with validated efficiency. The liquid containing the particles can then be tested using one of a number of the latest rapid microbiological analysis methods.
The Coriolis µ offers advantages for sampling air with a high bioaerosol burden (which would saturate traditional solid media) because the liquid can be divided into multiple agar plates. However, this technology is also ideal for cleanroom applications in which air has a low burden, because the Coriolis µ can sample for an extended period.
Summarising, Jim Mills says “This technology is ideal for a wide variety of applications including pharmaceutical manufacture, hospitals, surgeries, care homes, cruise ships, animal housing, composting and any other facilities in which airborne pathogens represent a risk.”
Friday, 16 January 2015
Traffic management lowers air pollution
In December 2014, on the same day that the Environmental Audit Committee published a report saying that air pollution is a ‘public health crisis’, a group of scientists reported the results of CARBOTRAF, a European project to develop a decision support system for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) and black carbon (BC) emissions by adoptive traffic management.
CARBOTRAF is a Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Commission, and the project participants came from a number of European countries, but the monitoring and control systems that have been developed were deployed in Glasgow, Scotland, and Graz, Austria. With 7 partner organisations from 4 countries and a budget of €4.4m, the CARBOTRAF project studied the relationships between traffic states and CO2 and BC emissions, and a model was developed linking traffic states to emission levels. A decision support system for online prediction of emission levels used real-time and simulated traffic and air quality data. Based on this prediction a low emission traffic scenario is generated by imposing measures such as re-routing and the adjustment of traffic light sequences.
Air Monitors provided the BC monitors, the meteorological equipment, mobile air quality and traffic monitoring equipment, and Envirologger (an associate company of Air Monitors) provided real-time data collection, cloud-storage and website display technology. Other partners include Imperial College London, the Austrian Institute of Technology, VITO (Belgium), ETS (Belgium), EBE Solutions (Austria) and IBM.
The systems are now up and running in both cities and it is clear that emissions reduction opportunities exist. Initial results indicate that about 3% reduction is possible network-wide, but 10% reduction is possible in specific locations. Jim Mills from Air Monitors pointed out that particles and nitrogen dioxide remain major problems, so he hoped that CARBOTRAF will help to raise the profile of the problem and contribute to a better understanding of ways to resolve air quality problems. All speakers agreed that the best prospect for systems such as this is most likely to be in localised hotspots where air quality is most affected by traffic.
To demonstrate the system, Martin Litzenberger from AIT in Austria logged into a preview version of the CARBOTRAF system in Graz which provides traffic management staff with live data during the peak time of 6am to 9am. However, whilst traffic centre operators are very interested in being able to improve air quality, it is not their primary goal, so the decision to adopt CARBOTRAF has to be political.
The CARBOTRAF final report meeting took place at the Royal Society of Chemistry buildings at Burlington House in London’s Piccadilly. However, the UK participants were completely unaware that within a few days, the UK Government would issue a consultation on Local Air Quality Management that, if adopted, would seriously undermine the monitoring and management of local air quality in the UK. Ironically, one of the speakers said: “for a system like CARBOTRAF to become integrated into traffic management, it would have to be identified politically as a tool for tackling air pollution,” but following the UK Government’s consultation, it appears that such political will is sadly missing in London. However, CARBOTRAF has demonstrated that the technology is now available to manage traffic in a way that minimises air pollution, so it is hoped that enlightened politicians will wish to exploit this opportunity to tackle the public health crisis that exists in European cities.
Friday, 05 December 2014
How many of us have bought something because it was a bargain, and later regretted doing so? Often, these are impulse purchases and no harm is done. However, when that decision relates to a service contract, choosing the lowest bidder can have serious and long-term consequences, so it is vitally important for tenders to clearly specify the deliverables and the required levels of performance. This is because the cheapest bid is usually cheap for a reason – either it does not include everything that would normally be regarded as good standard practice or it does not represent a sustainable, commercially viable proposition.
Obviously, service providers must possess a high level of technical competence. They should be authorised by relevant manufacturers, their engineers should undergo regular training, they should follow manufacturer approved written procedures, and their company procedures should be ISO 9000 Quality Management certified.
It is also vitally important for the bid process to assess the equipment and personnel capability of bidders for service contracts. If the bidder operates a team of service engineers offering national coverage from a variety of locations, the cost of each visit will be lower. It will also be possible to provide cover for holidays and illness, or periods of heavy workload. Furthermore, small service teams will be less likely to be able to respond quickly to requests, so bidders should be explicit in describing their capability.
Once a trained service engineer is onsite, it is important that he or she is able to undertake as much of the required work as possible, without incurring a need for further visits. They should therefore carry genuine original manufacturer spare parts along with all necessary test and calibration equipment, and if onsite repair is not possible, the client should know if replacement monitors are available and if there is a cost associated with this.
One of the reasons for low value bids in service contract tenders is failure to include normal operational costs in the bid. For example, there might be extra fees for service visits above a certain number, or there might be extra charges for call-outs, out of normal hours work, spare parts, consumables, ancillary equipment or even telephone support.
The purpose of monitoring is to produce reliable data, but some service plans do not include data management, which is unfortunate because while some clients may prefer to handle this themselves, it often makes sense for the service company to implement a data management system. It is vitally important for data to be stored correctly and delivered in a timely, user-friendly manner because this can affect data capture and reliability.
Datalogging and telemetry are common components of a monitoring station, however, the service plan should include daily checks to ensure that data are being collected, stored and backed-up, and that the telemetry system is functioning correctly. Ideally it should be possible to log in to all sites in order to view live monitoring data, not just because this is extremely useful from an air quality management perspective, but also because it enables the service provider to implement a proactive station management programme. This is because the service company’s engineers will be able to monitor the performance of every station remotely; often detecting the onset of problems before they occur. As a result, engineers are able to plan their site visits according to need, rather than a timed schedule. This proactive service capability prevents the possibility of significant down-time and substantially improves data capture rates.
Air Monitors Ltd
As a service provider, it is the source of great frustration when a tender is issued without some of the details outlined above, because this opens the door to bidders that are happy to issue unsustainable proposals that are unlikely to deliver good quality data capture. We have invested heavily in staff, training, equipment, spares, vehicles, technical support and communications technology, and we have long-standing relationships with the world’s leading manufacturers, so it is no coincidence that our data capture rates lead the field and we have an impressive contract renewal rate over the last ten years of over 95%.
With 9 full-time members in our service team and 2 part-time experienced contract engineers, Air Monitors is able to deliver a highly effective and sustainable service. We operate a fleet of specially designed vehicles which are stocked with parts, as well as test and calibration equipment. Some of these vans have been fitted out with a fully powered workshop so that monitors can be maintained in the comfort and safety of the vehicle, allowing us to work in all weathers.
I hope that this article has helped to highlight some of the key features of a good quality service contract, but we do appreciate that everyone has different requirements so it is often necessary to work with our clients to develop a contract that precisely meets their needs.
In summary, my advice when choosing a service partner is to take time to specify the terms of the contract; study the published performance data of service providers, and finally, I am very proud of my team so don’t just take my word for it; ask our customers...
Tuesday, 23 September 2014
In response to growing demand and a changing market, Air Monitors Limited, a leading provider of air quality monitoring equipment and related services, has invested in a new fleet of state-of-the-art vehicles.
Service Manager Nigel Grey says: “Our service work has changed enormously in recent years and it is vitally important that we adapt accordingly, ensuring that all of our engineers are equipped with the latest technology so that they can provide the highest levels of service.”
Air Monitors services a high proportion of the UK’s air quality monitoring networks, and published data capture rates demonstrate that the company is able to offer the highest levels of service available. However, many of Air Monitors’ customers now employ cloud-based data collection so that they are able to view air quality data in almost real-time. This facility has radically changed Air Monitors’ service capability: “Instead of responding to customer calls when they find that an instrument is down or damaged, we now continuously monitor the performance of all of our customers’ online monitors,” adds Nigel. “As a result, we are often able to detect issues before they become a problem, and despatch an engineer much sooner - most problems are fixed before the customer knows they have one!”
To support the new pro-active service capability, the new Air Monitors vans are equipped with all of the latest service, calibration and communication technology, coupled with a comprehensive suite of spares and consumables.
Friday, 22 August 2014
The Environment Agency of the Faroe Islands together with the municipality of Tórshavn has installed two ambient air quality monitoring stations as part of its commitment to monitor the environment and provide air quality data to the public and other interested parties. The stations, which were supplied by Air Monitors Ltd, provide continuous meteorological measurements and air quality data for NO2, NOx and a range of different particulate factions.
Rakul Mortensen, an Environmental Chemist for the Agency, is responsible for air quality monitoring. She says: “Air quality measurements have been made in the past, but only on a short-term basis by researchers and consultants, so we are absolutely delighted to be able to conduct our own continuous monitoring, so that we can establish a database of background air quality data.
“The creation of two sites, one urban and one rural, will enable us to determine whether any pollution incidents have arisen from local sources or externally. For example, we received a significant quantity of dust following the volcanic eruptions that took place in Iceland in 2010 and this equipment will enable us to measure any future instances with greater accuracy, so that we can provide the public with informed advice and reassurance."
One of the stations was installed in a remote rural location and the other was installed in Tórshavn in the main urban area near the harbour, which is the area most likely to be affected by local sources of pollution.
The Faroe Islands is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark but are not part of the European Union so it does not have to comply with EU Air Quality Directives. However, the Environment Agency is keen to be able to provide the Islands’ 50,000 population with information on air quality. Rakul says: “The main factors affecting air quality are likely to be road traffic and emissions from the large number of ships that travel to and from the Islands’ ports. However, the monitoring stations have already demonstrated that air quality in the Faroes is generally good, and well within the requirements of the EU air quality standards."
Each of the two monitoring stations included a Thermo Gas analyser Model 42i measuring NO, NO2 and NOx in addition to a Lufft WS600 smart weather sensor for measuring wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity, pressure and precipitation. Particulate monitoring is being undertaken with the most advanced technology available; each station has been equipped with a FIDAS, (Fine Dust Analysis System) which provides continuous real-time simultaneous mass concentration measurements of TSP, PM1, PM2.5 and PM10 and TSP providing additional information on particle size distribution from 0.18 to 18 microns and particle number in each size range. All of the monitoring equipment is connected to web loggers manufactured by Envirologger, Air Monitors' sister company.
Jim Mills, Air Monitors' MD, travelled to the Faroe Islands in March 2014 to assist with the installation of the monitoring stations. He said: "The monitors are similar to many of the stations that we have installed in the UK; they are fitted with web loggers that utilise 'cloud' storage for the data and our software engineers are working with the Environment Agency of the Faroe Islands to develop a website so that the public will have quick and easy access to air quality data."