Finnish cleantech start-up business Aeromon is using analytics software and mobile sensors to map industrial emissions in real-time, and has successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of drone-mounted platforms.
A pilot programme at the Ämmässuo waste treatment centre, operated by the Helsinki region environmental services authority (HSY), compared historical data captured using hand-held measurement tools with aerial measurements taken by a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) fitted with Aeromon’s sensor package. The composition and concentration of the biowaste stack and treatment facility emissions were also studied.
The resulting readings closely corresponded with HSY’s reference results, demonstrating the suitability of the aerial measurement platform for detecting fugitive emissions in a wide range of industrial settings, including those in which measurements may have previously been difficult to obtain. Jouko Salo, chairman of Aeromon, explains: “When aerially deployed, our sensor package can create a detailed emissions map of an industrial area. This data can be combined with environmental data in our Aeromon Cloud Service (CS) to provide a complete view of emissions.”
HSY appreciated the agile, accessible nature of the platform. Roni Järvensivu, site environmental engineer, says: “The analysers used in Aeromon’s RPA were very portable and seemed reliable. The graphs provided in the final report were informative and easy to understand. We found the results obtained by RPA to be close to our own measurements.”
Salo, who has a background in the maritime industry, says the work started when it was realised that there were no technologies available to monitor the emissions from ships that sail near coastlines. So he founded Aeromon in the belief that “environmental regulation without enforcement is useless”.
As Aeromon developed, it became clear that the company had to make a critical strategic choice: to maintain focus on the maritime industry or develop a service with a wider range of applications.
“During the early stages of the development process, we had to decide whether to select the easy route of creating a single-use system or invest in the development of a more modular architecture,” says Salo. “We started thinking of other uses for the same technology and how we could create value for process industries by giving a better view on fugitive emissions.”
The end result was the Aeromon Emission Monitoring System, consisting of an RPA-mounted BH-8 sensor module with an active sampling system, a data handling/communications computer and a web-based analysis platform, the CS. When combined, this gives clients the ability to rapidly map on-site emissions, delivering significant time savings, real-time reporting capabilities and a scalable cloud data storage solution.
The system maps and identifies emissions with cost-effective, lightweight sensors that analyse a wide range of gases, augmented by exact location information and environmental conditions. A key feature in the development of the BH-8 has been the validation of each set-up with a local university. The lightweight nature of Aeromon’s analyser platform means it can be deployed in fixed and handheld configurations, and can be carried by any drone/RPA capable of carrying a professional camera set.
map showing hydrogen sulphide concentrations
With an adaptable, scalable product that can be added to existing emissions monitoring processes, Aeromon wants to help clients increase efficiency, cut costs and uphold their duty of responsibility to the environment. Aeromon can adapt its analysers to measure more than 70 gases and particulates in a variety of combinations, and to then process the captured data into 3D maps that visualise emissions in practically any setting.
John Cozzi is digital storyteller at PR and marketing business San Francisco Agency