Partnering with Bruce Race, Director of the Center for Sustainability and Resilience (CeSAR) at the University of Houston, HARC recently co-hosted Advanced Waste Management: Environmental and Economic Benefits. This public symposium was held as news broke that Houston would be excluding glassware from its list of green bin recyclables. The announcement marks a retreat from the city’s One Bin for All strategy, which was funded in 2013 through a $1 million grant from the Bloomberg Foundation.
Developing a Real-Time Engine Emissions Monitoring System for Oil & Gas Operations
For many years governments around the globe have worked to regulate pollution generated through engine emissions, resulting in the need for better emissions testing worldwide. Exhaust emissions testing identifies the substances that form in an engine during combustion. Advances in emissions testing and air quality monitoring are helping to reduce emissions and mitigate effects on air quality, climate, and health. HARC has developed unique capabilities to perform advanced testing in the field for oil and gas operations seeking to understand and reduce engine emissions.
Seeking ways to reduce emissions, the oil and gas industry is adopting new technologies to power operations. These include cleaner diesel engines, turbine engines, and engines that run on clean-burning natural gas. Testing is needed in order to better understand the emissions characteristics and fuel economy of these systems. Bringing the analytical capability to the field has been a challenge that HARC has met with development of an advanced analytical instrument package suitable for use at drilling and petroleum production sites.
Solution for Measuring Engine Emissions from HARC
HARC Research Associate and physicist, Asanga Wijesinghe, PhD, has designed and developed hardware and software systems that can be used in areas where hydrocarbon gases may be present. This “intrinsically safe” system, or “iBox” as it has been dubbed, contains the analytical instruments and electronic controls in a specially-designed enclosure. In addition to the state-of=the-art analyzers, and advanced Real-Time Emissions Measurement System (REMS) integrates the various systems components. REMS brings together the data from gas analyzers, mass flow meters, weather station, control valves, and the engine’s controller area networks (CAN). This accomplished with a built-in field programmable gate array (FPGA) and NI Real-Time architecture on NI Single-Board RIO hardware along with NI LabVIEW software. HARC designed, built and programmed this elegantly functional system.
REMS provides a complete and accurate real-time monitoring of the pollutants emitted by the engine, including up to 20 gaseous compounds (HC, CO, CO2, NOx [or NO + NO2], PM) together with the associated engine and ambient parameters. The system also sends emission test data to a cloud database where authorized users and researchers can access and visualize these data from anywhere in the world in Amazon EC2 powered web service (http://harcrems.com/).
HARC REMS and the iBox have been successfully deployed at oil and gas operations to perform emissions studies. The data generated by HARC REMS will be used to develop a more accurate and comprehensive picture of emissions characteristics and fuel economy, enabling operators to set targets, and understand how reducing emissions.