Infrared gas imaging camera gives emissions detection abilities a boost

By LEE MATHER

Looking to improve upon their environmental emissions detection abilities, the DCMR Environmental Protection Agency (Schiedam, The Netherlands) of the local and regional authorities operating in Rijnmond—the agency responsible for monitoring and assisting authorities on developing environmental policy—implemented the GF320 optical gas imaging camera from FLIR Advanced Thermal Solutions (Croissy-Beaubourg, France) for inspection and law enforcement tasks.

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The DCMR, an environmental protection agency in The Netherlands, implemented FLIR Advanced Thermal Solutions’ GF320 optical gas imaging camera due to its ability to detect VOCs better than their previous method. The GF320 camera detected gases at levels three to four times higher than those reported to the DCMR annually.

The GF320 camera’s ability to detect 25 different gases at the minimum detected leak rate (MDLR) gave the DCMR information they didn’t expect. They recently performed field studies in the Rotterdam port area of The Netherlands, which found that total emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)—the main cause of photochemical smog—from the area’s industrial sources were a staggering three to four times higher than the emission figures that are reported to the DCMR annually.

The GF320 real-time infrared (IR) camera incorporates a focal plane array detector and optical systems tuned to very narrow spectral infrared ranges, according to FLIR. This enables the camera to image infrared energy absorbed by certain environmentally polluting gases. The camera’s High Sensitivity Mode feature can process and enhance images to clearly show the presence of gases against stationary backgrounds. The detected gases then appear on screen as smoke plumes.

Going forward, the DCMR will use the GF320 camera to inspect storage tanks, vapor recovery units and VOC handling activities of refineries and storage and handling facilities. The camera will also be used to develop a standard and solid working method that can be used as a law enforcement tool, as well as reduce many kilotons of VOC emissions.

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