Gas sensing

Protecting the science of tomorrow: VOC detection technology for University of Nottingham School of Chemistry

For the chemists and students who are working hard to make scientific discoveries and improvements for the future, it’s vital that their labs and work areas are safe and free from potentially harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Shawcity, ION Science’s UK distributor, is pleased to have supplied ION Science’s leading handheld VOC gas detector, the Tiger, to help monitor air quality at the University of Nottingham School of Chemistry GSK Centre for Sustainable Chemistry.

Preventing exposure and ensuring VOC levels do not reach dangerous concentrations in these areas is essential for the safety of those working, and to ensure minimal interference with projects and experiments. There are also other factors to consider, such as shared communal spaces in buildings (like corridors or common rooms) potentially being impacted by high levels of VOCs. Depending on the volume and type of VOC, this could range from mildly annoying to more serious health affects long-term.

In a university, where buildings may have been converted or retrofitted to their current purpose, and therefore lack modern ventilation systems, having additional safeguards in place to monitor air quality and VOC concentrations is essential for safety. The University of Nottingham School of Chemistry had received some complaints about strong chemical smells in their labs, but the team also wanted to introduce some additional safety measures in the event of ventilation systems being down, accidents, leaks or other potential hazardous incidents.

To accurately evaluate VOC levels and identify the risks or hazards present in the lab, the team wanted to find a handheld device that could monitor VOC concentration and air quality. It needed to be simple in its readouts, reliable, and able to be used in multiple labs, as well as different areas within the lab, such as fume hoods. ION Science’s leading handheld VOC detector, the Tiger, was chosen for meeting all these requirements and more.

As the first VOC detector used by The University of Nottingham School of Chemistry, one of the key factors for purchase was the ease of use for the Tiger, and the extensive technical support offered by Shawcity. A spokesperson for the university said: ‘Our building contains a series of chemistry research laboratories where groups work on diverse projects based around green and sustainable chemistry themes; we make catalysts, invent new reactions, new battery technology, and new solar cells. 

 ‘We use a lot of different organic solvents many of which are volatile and require LEVs (local exhaust ventilation) to contain those vapours. We use the Tiger to check that our vented cupboards, extraction arms, vented enclosures and fume hoods are doing what they are meant to, which is containing those VOCs. 

 ‘The Tiger is very useful in the lab for both routine inspections of air quality and equipment functionality, as well as for use in emergencies when ventilation equipment has gone down. We are extremely pleased with the product and Shawcity have been helpful throughout.’

ION Science is pleased to be supporting the science and technology achievements of tomorrow with industry leading VOC detection today. To find out more about the Tiger, please visit: https://bit.ly/3FgZy89.

Gas Sensing Solutions website becomes multilingual

Gas Sensing Solutions – a pioneer in solid state NDIR infra- red gas sensors has added a multilingual option to its website. Following on from the launch of its brand-new website earlier this year, this major upgrade now offers customers the option to view the website in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, as well as the English version.

Selecting a language is easy with the new options added to the menu bar. Users can expect to find key pages available in multiple languages, including the product selection guide, individual product pages, technology, company, and contact information.

Julian Hayes, CEO of Gas Sensing Solutions commenting on the new web site said, “as a global company, it is important to make it easy for all customers to find and select the right product for their application. Over the last 18 months, we have improved our digital presence with a complete overhaul of the company website and adding a multilingual option provides a positive user experience for more of our customers, especially those in Asia with this upgrade.”

To experience the GSS website in a variety of languages, please visit www.gassensing.co.uk.

Alphasense joins the AMETEK family

Alphasense, the Essex-based gas sensor manufacturer, is delighted to announce its acquisition by AMETEK, the global leader in electronic instruments and electromechanical devices.

Founded in 1996 and celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Alphasense will continue to operate from the company’s head office and manufacturing facility in Braintree, Essex.

Alphasense’s product range and day-to-day operations will remain unchanged, with Erik Boergesen from AMETEK MOCON joining the company in the coming weeks to oversee the transition period alongside Alphasense Interim CEO Peter Saxton.

“This is a significant moment in the history of Alphasense,” said Peter Saxton. “AMETEK’s operational style and growth strategy will create new opportunities for us over the coming years to build customer relationships around the world and develop our product range across existing and new markets. On behalf of the Gotley family, I extend my sincere thanks to colleagues past and present for their contribution to Alphasense.”

AMETEK consists of two operating groups: Electronic Instruments and Electromechanical. The company employs people at numerous manufacturing, sales and service locations in the United States and in many other countries around the world.

Despite the new interest and opportunities generated by the acquisition, Erik Boergesen believes Alphasense’s existing strengths will still be the key to achieving future growth.

“With the business recently turning 25 years old, we’re at a pivotal point where investment, insight and expertise from a company with AMETEK’s pedigree can help us push forward to reach new heights,” said Erik Boergesen. “Having said that, we still remain fully focused on delivering excellent product performance and outstanding customer service in our pursuit of this future growth.”

For more information about Alphasense, please visit www.alphasense.com or contact sensors@alphasense.com. For further information about AMETEK, please visit www.ametek.com.

Delivering excellence in benzene monitoring instrumentation for the chemical, pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries

Monitoring benzene exposure levels is critical for the health and wellbeing of staff and the public who may encounter this group one carcinogen. While benzene has many useful and practical applications in industries, the risk to health is undeniable and requires exact and precise monitoring to mitigate damage. Having accurate and dedicated monitoring instrumentation specifically for managing the risk of benzene is essential for any business that works with this chemical.

As benzene is both widespread in industrial applications and poses a significant risk to health, there is pressure from public health and industrial safety perspectives on making sure it is managed and monitored properly. The most effective way of minimising exposure to benzene is through appropriate safety and monitoring practices. Using PID (photoionisation detection) instruments from ION Science is an excellent way of protecting against potential hazards.

ION Science has a dedicated range of instruments specifically designed for monitoring benzene. As a compound that poses a range of long- and short-term health risks associated with exposure, having instruments that can monitor wherever staff are working and in areas where there is potential for public or environmental exposure is key.

For protecting individual staff, ION Science offers the Cub TAC (total aromatic compound) 10.0 eV personal benzene gas monitor. This personal monitoring solution is worn within the breathing zone on the person, allowing individual monitoring of exposure levels to be exact. Equipped with audio and visual alarms when exposure goes beyond pre-set levels, the Cub TAC is designed to keep workers safe in all situations. Data can be uploaded for review by the site Occupational Hygienist or Health and Safety Officer, so any exposures that pose a risk can be quickly addressed and dealt with.

The Titan fixed benzene specific gas monitor is a standalone unit that can be fitted around sites, factories, and storage units. This is particularly useful for monitoring

benzene, as one of the highest risk factors in benzene exposure is related to the storage and distribution of petrol and petroleum-based products. Benzene can also be found on sites such as oil refineries and foundries, which are often large and not necessarily always monitored in person. The Titan fixed unit is wall mounted and samples air every minute, providing an accurate readout of benzene air concentrations within just 60 seconds. With a dynamic detection range, the Titan is designed to monitor for benzene at just 0.1 ppm concentration levels, keeping staff as safe as possible when in proximity.

Where portable detection is essential, ION Science offer the Tiger Select portable benzene gas detector. Ideal for use around sites and for checking levels while working, the Tiger Select keeps staff safe as well as monitoring air levels and concentrations for health and safety purposes. With both 15-minute short term exposure limits and 8 hour time weighted averages, the Tiger Select makes it possible to monitor exposure risks at all levels and throughout the day.

What really makes ION Science’s range of benzene specific instruments valuable to the customer is the fast lead times available on the majority of products. ION Science is proud to offer delivery time turnaround of days, not weeks, and in some cases, it may even be possible to have products arriving to customers within 24 hours.

With a global network of suppliers, distributors and offices, ION Science boasts superior supply chains to get products where they need to be. Whether customers have an immediate need, such as a suspected leak or impending legislation change, or a long term commitment to improving environmental and public health, choosing from ION Science’s range of benzene detection instruments means products can be on site in some of the fastest lead times available.

Signal Group expands range of service contracts

Signal Group (UK), the gas analyser manufacturer, has announced the launch of a new flexible range of service contracts, which enable customers to determine the level of service required. “No two companies are the same,” explains Signal Group Service Manager Roy Kinslow, “so it makes sense for us to offer a tiered-package approach to service contracts.

“Our gas analysers are designed and built for accurate and reliable measurements, but in order to optimise performance, it is necessary to establish a planned maintenance and calibration routine. These new flexible service contracts therefore offer customers the ability to build resilience into their monitoring work; developing plans for unforeseen events and avoiding downtime.”

Each of the different service levels include full technical support via phone and email, but customers are able to choose whether their plan should also include features such as scheduled site visits and emergency call-outs. Each service plan also provides extra discount on spares and consumables.

The role of gas analysis in clean air strategies to reduce carbon emissions

International action on the climate, such as the 2016 Paris Agreement, has increased awareness of the effect of greenhouse gases, driving industrial plant operators to reduce emissions and find more ecologically responsible ways of operating.

Reducing carbon emissions to the atmosphere has become an area of growing importance for operators. Sensitivity towards the issue has been raised by the introduction of increasingly stringent environmental regulations.

Gas analysis delivers an effective solution for these efforts, supporting measurement of harmful emissions, and by improving efficiency to ensure fewer emissions are generated in the first place.

In this article, we’ll look at three main process areas that support a clean air strategy: combustion efficiency, gas clean-up (including carbon capture processes), and emissions monitoring.

Combustion control solutions

Combustion reactions mix fuel with oxygen in a fired heater to generate heat energy for a process. They typically need a significant amount of fuel, create potential safety hazards, and generate harmful emissions including carbon dioxide (CO2).

Running fired heaters with high excess air – as happened before gas analyzer technology – avoids creating unsafe conditions that could lead to an explosion, but is highly inefficient, increasing fuel consumption.

Excess oxygen (O2) also combines with nitrogen and sulfur in the fuel to produce unwanted emissions such as oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and sulfur (SOx).

Accurate measurement of O2 and combustibles such as carbon monoxide (CO) helps to optimise the ratio between the air and fuel creates a more efficient reaction.

Controlling combustion in this way benefits plants looking to meet environmental standards requirements. Fuel consumption is reduced, resulting in fewer emissions, a reduction in NOx, SOx and CO, and a decrease in CO2.

Zirconia-based sensing technology is long established as a solution for O2 monitoring in combustion, with reliable, accurate results and a fast response to changing conditions. Tunable Diode Laser (TDL) technology provides an even faster measurement, particularly for CO, and gives an average measurement across the measurement path, rather than the result at a single point. However, since TDL sensing is highly specific to the gas being measured, separate analyzers are required for O2 and CO.

Gas analysis also supports greater process efficiency in many other applications. An efficient process reaction reduces the amount of harmful emissions likely to be generated.

Gas clean-up and carbon capture

Gas analysis is important in gas cleaning, the removal of harmful substances from process gases that might otherwise be emitted by the plant.

Typical examples of gas clean-up processes include DeNOx (ammonia slip) treatment, flue gas desulfurization, and carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Capturing and storing CO2 ensures it is not released into the atmosphere. This results in a cleaner environment, and allows the CO2 to be used in other processes. Three different methods exist: pre-combustion, oxyfuel, and post-combustion CCS.

Post-combustion CCS takes place when CO2 is removed from the flue gas after fossil fuels have been burned. Oxyfuel CCS produces a flue gas consisting almost entirely of CO2 and steam by reacting the fuel source with almost pure O2 – this means flue gas can be stored/sequestered without significant pretreatment.

Both these methods can be used in new plants, or retrofitted to existing ones.

A third method, pre-combustion CCS, is performed before burning the fuel, and converts the fuel into a mixture of hydrogen and CO2. This is difficult to retrofit, so is better for newly built facilities.

Whichever method is used, the captured CO2 is then compressed into a liquid and transported for storage.

As countries look to meet their responsibilities under Paris Agreement carbon reduction targets, the use of industrial-level CCS is likely to grow significantly, as is the requirement for accurate gas analysis to support the processes.

Monitoring emissions

Reducing carbon emissions has been a key issue for many countries in recent years, with legislation limiting the amounts of greenhouse gases – CO2, CH4 and nitrous oxide (N2O) – that can be emitted. NOx, SOx, and CO are also seen as key pollutants.

Monitoring flue gas emissions helps determine the process efficiency and protect the environment, and demonstrates that plant operators are complying with the necessary regulations.

To ensure compliance, a continuous emissions monitoring system (CEMS) is required to measure all the necessary components of the flue gas. This must be capable of offering the highest sensitivity and accuracy when dealing with multiple measurements for pollutants.

Any gas analysis system must also meet MCERTS and QAL1 certifications to comply with regulatory criteria.

Cleaner energy sources

Cleaner energy sources, such as hydrogen, are becoming increasingly attractive to many industries – hydrogen gas (H2) does not contain carbon, so cannot form CO2 as a byproduct of combustion.

Plants that produce hydrogen are ramping up output to meet increased demand. The purity of the hydrogen they produce affects its quality as a fuel, and this is where gas analysis again plays a major role.

Depending on the manufacturing method, the most common contaminants will be O2, CO and CO2. All three of these can be monitored by gas analyzers to ensure product purity.

A cleaner future

Whether it is used to ensure more efficient processes, to support the safe removal of pollutants, or to monitor the remaining emissions that are output to the atmosphere, gas analysis plays an essential role in cleaner plant and refinery operations.

Additionally, it is certain that gas analysis technology will be essential to the production of current and future cleaner energy sources.

A wide range of sensing technologies is needed to achieve all the necessary goals of a clean air strategy in order to ensure the best-fit and most cost-effective solution for each application.

By combining all three stages of the clean air strategy outlined here, plants and refineries can fully address the impact of their operations on the wider environment, and contribute fully to the creation of a world with cleaner air.

Find out more about the three-stage clean air strategy at servomex.com

UK-based gas-detection industry leaders ION Science to attend US tech event Sensors Expo

One of the world’s leading PID (photoionisation detection) sensor manufacturers, ION Science, are pleased to announce they will be exhibiting at US-based technology event Sensors Expo. ION Science will be showcasing products including their industry-leading MiniPID2 Sensor, at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. Attendees can visit, trial products, and talk to experts in the Exhibit Hall from the 22nd – 23rd of September.

Sensors Expo is an electronics event that has been running for 36 years, with a focus on sensor technology. Since its inception, Sensors Expo has broadened its horizons and diversified to include electronics technologies and embedded systems that are compatible with sensors. The highly anticipated annual event explores the entire sensors ecosystem, from sensing to processing to analysing and connecting. The Expo will showcase the newest tech and innovations, interactive demonstrations and in-person networking, within the safest environment possible.

With experience of working with the semiconductor industry and a clear understanding of the requirements around VOC sensors in such strict environments, ION Science will be demonstrating this knowledge in full at Sensors Expo. Applying their PID sensors to monitor the manufacturing of semiconductors is a key part of ION Science’s work within the sector, and uses their range of sensors primarily, but also their fixed, portable and personal units to maintain these highly sensitive environments.

ION Science will be showcasing their range of products for the attendees of the expo, including their flagship product – the MiniPID2 sensor. This is designed for detecting VOCs over the widest dynamic range on the market without compromising performance. It can deliver a reliable response to thousands of VOCs across many applications. The sensor is resistant to up to 99% humidity and is the number one choice in terms of reliability and accuracy in readings for VOC gases. It is also the market leader in terms of product lifespan- having a 10,000 hour lamp life. The MiniPID2 is designed for both diffusive and in-line pumped sampling and is one of the range of products that ION Science will have at their exhibit for Sensors Expo.

As a company dedicated to improving air quality at every level, ION Science manufacture a range of sensors to make this possible, such as the High Sensitivity VOC Gas Sensor. This sensor is up to fifteen times more sensitive than other leading market products and can detect sub ppb VOC levels. This means that it is suited for use in indoor air quality measurement, where early detection of rising levels in VOCs can allow users to be proactive before it reaches dangerous levels.

ION Science has over thirty years of industry experience designing, manufacturing, and supplying PID gas sensors, detection instruments, and leak detectors for a wide range of industries and applications. Manufactured and designed at their UK headquarters, their sensor technology and gas detection instruments are used in many industries, including electrical and component manufacture, such as semiconductors.

Check out the world leaders in gas detection instruments in the Exhibit Halls at the Sensors Expo. Register now at: www.sensorsexpo.com/register.

Gas analysis expertise available at AQE 2021

Signal Group, the UK gas analyser manufacturer, will provide a virtual exhibition booth at this year’s Air Quality and Emissions show, AQE 2021.

The company is well known for its expertise in reference gas analysers employing Flame Ionisation (FID), Chemiluminescence (CLD) and Non-Dispersive InfraRed (NDIR), but the Signal Group’s Stephane Canadas says: “Many customers are not aware that we also manufacture a comprehensive range of accessories such as gas dividers for linearity and calibration checks, heated sample lines, sample pumps and filters, NOx converters, cooler dryers, zero air generators etc., so delegates can come to us for advice on almost any issue relating to gas monitoring.”

This year, the main focus of the Signal Group booth will be hydrocarbon monitoring because the 3010 MINIFID is currently undergoing MCERTS testing and a new portable Methane/Non-Methane FID analyser will be unveiled with a video explaining the clever design features that have been built into the new unit – the SOLAR Xplore.

The virtual booth will also provide an opportunity to see a demonstration of Signal Group’s innovative Series 4 analysers with detachable wireless tablets.

Pre-registered AQE delegates (see www.ilmexhibitions.com) will be able to access the AQE Conference sessions free of charge, but Stephane is urging delegates to pre-book virtual meetings with Signal Group (either via the event website or directly via www.signal-group.com) to ensure that appropriate expertise can be provided.

Delivering products for life and safety protection wherever needed

Ensuring that products reach customers on time is a critical part of any business, but more so for those who deal in products designed to help keep workplaces and staff safe. ION Science, as global leaders in the development, manufacturing, and distribution of gas detection instruments, are all too aware of the need to get product to customers on time. Their team have dedicated significant time and resource to creating a network of reliable distributors around the globe, supported by knowledgeable technical staff.

The importance of having secure, reliable supply chains was truly highlighted to the world this year. Incidents such as the COVID-19 vaccine shortages and supply issues and the Suez Canal blockage with the Ever Given both showed how easily critical supply lines can be disrupted, and how important it is to always have solutions that mean you can meet customer demand no matter what.

ION Science, as a leading OEM for gas detection equipment, understands these challenges and works closely with its global network of distributors and technical offices. This allows for products to be shipped and on-site within exceptional delivery times. ION Science’s industry leading instruments such as the Tiger are available for delivery within days, not weeks, at all of their major global locations, and stock levels are maintained so there is never any unnecessary delay.

In Europe, ION Science’s German office boasts some of the most impressive lead times for the core PID product portfolio. The Tiger range has a guaranteed delivery of 24 hours, with Falco and Cub products generally within 3 working days. Customers can rely on ION Science to get products exactly where they need to be in a fast timeframe. Not only that, but their network of expert technical staff is also available to help customers who need help with specific VOC detection ranges or technical applications.

Elsewhere, ION Science Italy also offers 24-hour turnaround of Tiger product orders, and in France, the full range of PID products is available with a 1-2 day lead time. For India, one of ION Science’s key centres for customers, Tiger can be available for delivery within 24 hours, with Falco generally delivered in 5 working days.

This is just a snapshot of ION Science’s exceptional commitment to lead times and ensuring that products are with customers as quickly as possible. A crucial part of maintaining such efficient lead times is effective stock management, something which ION Science manages closely with all offices and distributors, so no level ever falls too low.

By working with a trusted global network of suppliers, distributors and technical staff, ION Science demonstrates its expertise as a leading gas detection manufacturer goes beyond technical knowledge. Their commitment to reliability and delivery no matter what challenges customers may face means more staff and workplaces can be kept safe from dangerous levels of exposure and keep businesses running smoothly.

Pioneer in solid state gas sensors launches new website

Gas Sensing Solutions, a pioneer in solid state gas sensor technology is delighted to announce the launch of its new website www.gassensing.co.uk. The website places a strong focus on the user experience and includes an easy-to-use parametric search function making it easy for engineers to select the right GSS sensor.

The website has been given a complete overhaul with an emphasis on making it easy to access all the important sensor information in one place. Customers are presented with a product landing page, showcasing each sensor and its key attributes. The product landing page also gives customers the option to filter the sensor choice based on their own parametric requirements including measurement range, sample method and operating temperature range.

Each individual sensor landing page brings together a complete set of technical data. All sensor documentation and other user information including data sheets, application notes, evaluation board user guides, software and other helpful information have been brought together in one place.

When asked about the new website, Julian Hayes, CEO of Gas Sensing Solutions said “In a time when events and customer visits have been put on hold, it is fundamental that our website is able to facilitate our customers in their search for information on our sensors. Our site structure has been streamlined to help customers to find what they need, and the content revamped to ensure our customers understand what our sensors can do in real-world applications.”