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Santa Clara, CA, United States

Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.85K | Year: 2008

Methane (CH4), water vapor (H2O), and carbon dioxide (CO2) are collectively responsible for the majority of the Earth¿s greenhouse effect. Robust instrumentation that can measure these gases with both high accuracy and precision and with sufficient speed would reduce the uncertainty in the determination of terrestrial sources and sinks of these dominant greenhouse gases. Such knowledge is needed to improve predictive models that lead to a better understanding of the human contribution to global warming. The Phase I project built one prototype system. The prototype monitor met or exceeded all CO2 and CH4 performance targets as defined in the Phase I proposal, except for rise and fall times. The Phase II project will design, build, and fully test five analyzers able to produce continuous, high accuracy field measurements of ambient levels of atmospheric gases, at very high data rates, over years of operation in remote locations. Three analyzers will be sent to independent researchers as part of three performance and validation studies. One analyzer will be retained for long term software testing and validation, and the last analyzer will ultimately be destroyed during shock and vibration testing. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: Government agencies around the world are already installing atmospheric monitoring stations. The Ameriflux network currently has 89 active stations in six countries. An improved CO2 and CH4 flux monitor deployed at these stations would provide high accuracy as well as high precision information at a data rate required for flux measurement. In addition, the analyzer requires far less calibration and sample preparation than currently available technology, leading to better reliability and reduced operating cost.

A gas concentration image (i.e., concentration vs. position data) in a cross section through a gas plume is obtained. Such measurements can be obtained by moving a 1D array of gas sample inlets through the gas plume. By combining a gas concentration image with ambient flow information through the surface of the gas concentration image, the leak rate (i.e., gas flux) from the leak source can be estimated. Multiple gas analysis instruments can be employed in connection with sweeping a 1-D array of measurement ports through the gas plume in order to reduce analysis time.

This work provides event selection in the context of gas leak pinpointing using mobile gas concentration and atmospheric measurements. The main idea of the present approach is to use a moving minimum to estimate background gas concentration, as opposed to the conventional use of a moving average for this background estimation.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Picarro Inc. | Date: 2015-05-18

Optical spectrometer apparatus, systems, and methods for analysis of carbon-14 including a resonant optical cavity configured to accept a sample gas including carbon-14, an optical source configured to deliver optical radiation to the resonant optical cavity, an optical detector configured to detect optical radiation emitted from the resonant cavity and to provide a detector signal; and a processor configured to compute a carbon-14 concentration from the detector signal, wherein computing the carbon-14 concentration from the detector signal includes fitting a spectroscopic model to a measured spectrogram, wherein the spectroscopic model accounts for contributions from one or more interfering species that spectroscopically interfere with carbon-14.

Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.84K | Year: 2009

This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will combine the capabilities of Picarro's WS-CRDS (wavelength-scanned cavity ring down spectroscopy) instrumentation with Gas Chromatography (GC) - Combustion (C) technology. This new high-precision, but low cost analyzer will simultaneously measure hydrogen (D/H) and carbon (13C/12C) isotope ratios of organic molecules and provides critical insight into underlying biochemical processes. One important application is the administration of deuterium- and/or 13C-labeled organic compounds to a subject and the use of isotopic ratio monitoring to track the fate of the labeled compound across time and body tissues. Such high-precision measurements are currently obtained with Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometers (IRMS), which are too large, expensive, and laborintensive for wide use. In addition, two separate IRMS systems are needed for simultaneous hydrogen and carbon isotopic measurements. Picarro's GC-C-CRDS analyzer will be a high-precision, small, and inexpensive single-system replacement for IRMS to quantify both hydrogen and carbon isotopes. The broader impact of this research is the cost reduction in health care through the advancement of preventative medicine by enabling the large-scale use of stable isotopes as tracers for metabolic research studies and medical diagnosis (insulin resistance, for instance) through the availability of an inexpensive and high-performance isotopic analyzer for clinical deployment and the subsequent possibility of fast, local, advanced medical testing and diagnosis in remote and economically disadvantaged communities. After establishing the GC-C-CRDS analyzer in research laboratories with this grant, Picarro intends to extend its presence to hospitals, clinics, and biopharmaceutical laboratories.

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