New StreetNOx selected for urban air quality monitoring

Air quality monitoring has come a long way since sulphur dioxide bubblers were first introduced, to monitor smogs, in the 1950s. Having largely removed the problems of SO2 from urban air quality, today's concerns in urban areas are now focused on the effects of traffic pollution.

The technology to monitor these pollutants, NOx, NO, NO2 and particulate matter, has also come a long way and today the reference method for continuous monitoring of NOx is a chemiluminescence analyser.

The requirement for accurate data has meant that to measure NOx and PM on a continuous basis has always required large air-conditioned enclosures to house these delicate instruments. However the space available in the locations required to have monitoring carried out has caused suppliers many problems. Indicative monitoring of NOx using diffusion tubes, which are easy to locate due to their small size, has up to now proved sufficient, but they do not provide the continuous monitoring data that is now necessary.

At the end of 2003 Signal Ambitech were approached by Bradford City Council with just such a problem. The council wanted to measure NOx, NO and NO2 on a busy single carriageway lined with houses and several retail outlets. The Council had identified this area under its review and assessment process and now wanted to carry out real-time measurements.

Working with the Council Signal Ambitech designed a monitoring system that would blend into the street without taking up much of the pavement. The StreetNOx (it can also be fitted with an ozone or particulate monitor) measures only 410mm deep and looks like any other piece of street furniture (see illustration). In addition to being unobtrusive and easy to use the StreetNOx also has several other advantages, Signal Ambitech states. These include remote operation, calibration and diagnostics as well as automatic downloading of data.

Using Signal's Ambidesk, a Windows" based software system, the council is also able to view data on line and generate every type of report from daily to annual. Installed in early 2004 the StreetNOx has proved so successful that Bradford City Council has recently ordered another one for monitoring at another location. They are however not alone, as other councils have also had the StreetNOx installed, some with the addition of particulate monitors.

Signal Ambitech is now working with others on the development of other urban projects where space is at a premium and 2005 should see the launch of yet another innovative continuous air quality monitoring system.


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