On-line monitoring of methane in sewer air

Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Scientific Reports, 2014, 4 pp. 1 - 8 (8)
Issue Date:
2014-10-16
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Methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas and contributes significantly to climate change. Recent studies have shown significant methane production in sewers. The studies conducted so far have relied on manual sampling followed by off-line laboratory-based chromatography analysis. These methods are labor-intensive when measuring methane emissions from a large number of sewers, and do not capture the dynamic variations in methane production. In this study, we investigated the suitability of infrared spectroscopy-based on-line methane sensors for measuring methane in humid and condensing sewer air. Two such sensors were comprehensively tested in the laboratory. Both sensors displayed high linearity (R2 > 0.999), with a detection limit of 0.023% and 0.110% by volume, respectively. Both sensors were robust against ambient temperature variations in the range of 5 to 35°C. While one sensor was robust against humidity variations, the other was found to be significantly affected by humidity. However, the problem was solved by equipping the sensor with a heating unit to increase the sensor surface temperature to 35°C. Field studies at three sites confirmed the performance and accuracy of the sensors when applied to actual sewer conditions, and revealed substantial and highly dynamic methane concentrations in sewer air.
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