The Environics, Inc. Post

Environics Around the Globe

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Thu, Apr 03, 2014 @ 01:31 PM

As a US-based company, we are often asked where we ship internationally.  Both direct and through distributors and reps, we sell worldwide.  

Here is a map of the locations our units have shipped from us over the past few years (the blue pointers are our distributors).

environics sales map

Are you using an Environics system in a location that isn't marked?  Let us know so we can add you to the map!

Tags: Zero Air, Environics Inc, gas mixing, customer focus

"Ozone Season"

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Thu, Mar 13, 2014 @ 01:04 PM

We are quickly approaching what is commonly known as "ozone season" in the US. This is the time of year where agencies shift into high gear of monitor, record and report the levels of ozone as well as other pollutants. 

gas calibrationMany of our customers have been getting their ambient monitor calibration systems calibrated and tuned-up to be ready to begin the season.  If you still need your system serviced for this ozone season, please let us know ASAP as the calendar is filling fast! 

 


Check out this post from last year regarding the EPA’s new ozone reporting site.  It’s a great way to check the conditions in your area.

 

On June 30, 2013, the US Environmental Protection Agency released a revision to the Air Emissions Reporting Rule (AERR). The rule states the goal of the revisions is to "reduce reporting burden for state, local and tribal agencies, improve consistency and clarity with other rules, and better reflect current inventory technologies and practices."

The AERR was first published in 2008 as a replacement to the previous Consolidated Emissions Reporting Rule (CERR), which was published in 2002.  Both regulations were created to improve the ability of the EPA to gather emissions data on a national level.  The data is used to create a national inventory of air pollutant emissions. You can see this data in use and search for the conditions in your area at the EPA's MY Environment.

air quality ambient monitor

The improved AERR aims to grant states more flexibility on how to collect and report this emissions data.  These increased permissions give the state programs the ability to operate more efficiently.  To find out more visit the EPA's AERR page.

Tags: Zero Air, ozone, ozone generator, Ambient Air calibration, ambient air calibrator, zero air generator, Service, air quality, gas dilution, calibration

Gas Chromatography and Calibration Standards - A Review

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Tue, Nov 19, 2013 @ 02:58 PM

Today, we reshare one of our most popular and most often referenced posts.  We will focus on gas chromatography (or GC), a technique used by many of our existing customers in a wide variety of fields.

To state it simply, GC is a method used to separate, identify and quantify chemical compounds.  A mobile phase containing the sample is passed over an unmoving and immiscible stationary phase.  The mobile phase is comprised of the sample and a carrier gas (typically helium, nitrogen, argon, hydrogen or air).  The purity of the carrier is critical and ultra-pure gases are normally purchased or, in the case of air, zero air can be generated on site for cost savings and high purity.   

GC separation resized 600

The time in which it takes components in the carrier to pass through the stationary phase, known as the retention time (tR), is determined.  The more soluble a component is in the stationary phase, the higher the retention time. 

Once a component passes through the stationary phase, a detector allows the user to identify each of them, determine their mass and quantify the concentration.  There are a wide variety of detectors, and the detector chosen depends on the components and the needs of the user. 

The most commonly used detectors are the flame ionization detector (FID) and the thermal conductivity detector (TCD). They share a common sensitivity and functional concentration range.  TCDs can be used to detect virtually any component other than the carrier gas and is non-destructive, while FIDs are sensitive primarily to hydrocarbons and incinerate the entire sample.

Most importantly, proper calibration of the GC is essential.  By calibrating GC, the various retention times for compounds of interest are detected. Also, the area under the peak can be used to determine the concentration of the sample components by comparison to a determined calibration curve. 

GC response time resized 600A calibration curve is generated by running various dilutions of the compound/s of interest and then plotting response time and against concentration.  These points represent the calibration curve. No two compounds will produce exactly the same calibration curve, and the user must construct a calibration curve for each analyte.  It is also best practice to rerun the calibration at frequent intervals.  Precise calibration standards can be generated by gas dilution systems, which offer the advantage of on-site gas blending of 100% pure gases cylinders, providing a solution to using numerous, costly premixed cylinders of gas.  

Interested in learning more?  Subscribed to the Post or Contact Us!  We look forward to hearing from you.

Tags: zero air generator, Zero Air, calibration, gc

Gas Chromatography and Calibration Standards

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Fri, Sep 21, 2012 @ 10:50 AM

Today, we will focus on gas chromatography (or GC), a technique used by many of our existing customers in a wide variety of fields.  To state it simply, GC is a method used to separate, identify and quantify chemical compounds.  A mobile phase containing the sample is passed over an unmoving and immiscible stationary phase.  The mobile phase is comprised of the sample and a carrier gas (typically helium, nitrogen, argon, hydrogen or air).  The purity of the carrier is critical and ultra-pure gases are normally purchased or, in the case of air, zero air can be generated on site for cost savings and high purity.   

GC separation resized 600

The time in which it takes components in the carrier to pass through the stationary phase, known as the retention time (tR), is determined.  The more soluble a component is in the stationary phase, the higher the retention time. 

Once a component passes through the stationary phase, a detector allows the user to identify each of them, determine their mass and quantify the concentration.  There are a wide variety of detectors, and the detector chosen depends on the components and the needs of the user. 

The most commonly used detectors are the flame ionization detector (FID) and the thermal conductivity detector (TCD). They share a common sensitivity and functional concentration range.  TCDs can be used to detect virtually any component other than the carrier gas and is non-destructive, while FIDs are sensitive primarily to hydrocarbons and incinerate the entire sample.

Most importantly, proper calibration of the GC is essential.  By calibrating GC, the various retention times for compounds of interest are detected. Also, the area under the peak can be used to determine the concentration of the sample components by comparison to a determined calibration curve. 

GC response time resized 600A calibration curve is generated by running various dilutions of the compound/s of interest and then plotting response time and against concentration.  These points represent the calibration curve. No two compounds will produce exactly the same calibration curve, and the user must construct a calibration curve for each analyte.  It is also best practice to rerun the calibration at frequent intervals.  Precise calibration standards can be generated by gas dilution systems, which offer the advantage of on-site gas blending of 100% pure gases cylinders, providing a solution to using numerous, costly premixed cylinders of gas.  

Interested in learning more?  Subscribed to the Post or Contact Us!  We look forward to hearing from you.

Tags: Gas Flow, Zero Air, zero air generator, gas dilution, calibration, gc

Proposed Changes to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Mon, Aug 15, 2011 @ 12:24 PM

Today, let’s take a look at the proposed changes to National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone.  For more information on ozone, take a look at some past blog posts that focus on this molecule, its generation, dangers and uses.   

National Ambient Air Quality Standards are required limits set by the EPA, as required by the Clean Air Act.  These limits are established for pollutants that are harmful to public health and/or the environment.  The Clean Air Act was last updated in 1990.  At that time, there were two standards set, the primary and the secondary standards.  Primary standards are those that are set in order to protect the health of the general public, with special consideration to those with breathing issues, the young and the elderly.  Secondary standards are more general and include protection against damage to the environment, crops, animals and structures.  The current standards are:

NAAQS resized 600Source:  http://www.epa.gov/air/criteria.html

In January 2010, the EPA released a proposal to change the primary and secondary standard for ozone levels, which were last revised in March 2008 (to read the full proposal, click here). 

The proposal seeks to decrease the ozone primary standard from 0.075 ppm to between 0.060 to 0.070 ppm.  The decrease was proposed “to provide increased protection for children and other ‘‘at risk’’ populations against an array of O3-related adverse health effects that range from decreased lung function and increased respiratory symptoms to serious indicators of respiratory morbidity including emergency department visits and hospital admissions for respiratory causes, and possibly cardiovascular-related morbidity as well as total non-accidental and cardiopulmonary mortality.”

 

The proposal goes further to recommend the secondary ozone standard be changed to reflect the seasonality of ozone levels.  According to the proposal, instead of a fixed number, the new standard, “should instead be a new cumulative, seasonal standard expressed as an annual index of the sum of weighted hourly concentrations, cumulated over 12 hours per day (8 am to 8 pm) during the consecutive 3-month period within the O3 season with the maximum index value, set at a level within the range of 7 to 15 ppm-hours.”  This change would serve to protect the environment from the impacts of high ozone levels.

When an area fails to meet this standard, it is referred to as a “nonattainment” area.  The below map shows the areas that failed to meet the standard as of the last report, April 2011.

 NAQQS ozone map

Source: http://www.epa.gov/airquality/greenbook/map/map8hr.pdf

As with any proposed change, there are those that will oppose it.  Just this week, the National Association of Manufacturers sent a letter to President Obama and EPA Administrator Jackson asking that they reconsider the effects of this change in legislation.  The letter, signed by 35 different state manufacturing associations, states that changing the standards will cause “unnecessary and severe economic harm,” “will almost triple the number of counties designated as being in violation of the Clean Air Act,” and will therefore discourage “new businesses from locating in non-attainment areas and restricting the growth of existing businesses.”  To read the full letter, click here.

The most recent notice on the status of the proposal was released on July 26, 2011.  The statement read:

Administrator Jackson is fully committed to finalizing EPA's reconsideration of the Clean Air Act health standard for ground level ozone. That reconsideration is currently going through interagency review led by OMB. Following completion of this final step, EPA will finalize its reconsideration, but will not issue the final rule on July 29th, the date the agency had intended. We look forward to finalizing this standard shortly. A new ozone standard will be based on the best science and meet the obligation established under the Clean Air Act to protect the health of the American people. In implementing this new standard, EPA will use the long-standing flexibility in the Clean Air Act to consider costs, jobs and the economy. (source: http://www.epa.gov/glo/actions.html)

 

Follow us so we can keep you up to date of all changes!  To learn about the Environics systems that facilitate dynamic calibration of ambient air analyzers, click here.

Tags: Emission Standards, USA Emissions, zero air generator, Zero Air, Environics Inc, ozone, ozone generator, Ambient Air calibration, ambient air calibrator, zero air generator

Ozone and Ozone Generators - Good or Evil?

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Thu, May 05, 2011 @ 01:52 PM

Most people, when they hear the word Ozone, immediately think of air pollution and global warming.  This is just a small part of the story.  Ozone also has many useful applications.  Let's take a deeper look.

121px Ozone 1,3 dipoleOzone, or tri-oxygen, is a triatomic molecule made of three atoms of oxygen.  It is an unstable molecule and is constantly being generated and then destroyed in the atmosphere.  Ozone comprises a tiny 0.00006% of the atmosphere.

The highest levels of ozone are in the stratosphere, commonly called the ozone layer between about 6 and 31 miles up. Ozone serves as a natural filter of ultraviolet (UV) light from the Sun.  These rays are harmful to us in large doses.

ozone layer

Ozone in produced when the UV rays react with oxygen (click here for a great diagram that summarizes the chemistry).  The radiation first splits an oxygen molecule and then allows the formation of the triatomic struture:

O2 + photon (UV radiation < 240 nm) → 2 O

O + O2 + M → O3 + M

Ozone can also be destroyed by a reaction with atomic oxygen in the presence of one of a variety of catalyzing agents (including hydroxyl, nitric oxide, chlorine and bromine):

O3 + O → 2 O2

In recent decades, we have heard more and more about the "hole" in the ozone layer.  Scientists suspect the stratospheric levels of ozone have declined in part due to emissions of CFCs and other  chlorinated and brominated organic molecules.  The presence of these catalyists increase the rate at which ozone is destroyed and decrease the overall concentration of ozone in the stratosphere.

While low levels of ozone are an issue in the stratosphere, here on the ground, it is high levels that present health risks.  Ozone is formed when sunlight reacts with air containing hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides to form ozone.  Ground ozone can take 22 days to be destroyed and can cause effects from smog to reduction in agricultural yields (due to the effects on photosynthesis). 

Despite the negative press, ozone is used successfully in many applications  (beyond its effects as a sunscreen for the planet in the stratosphere).  The largest use of ozone is in industrial applications.  It can cleave carbon bonds, facilitate the breakdown of agricultural organic wastes, sanitize and deodorize items and kill bacteria in drinking water.  Next time, I'll take a look at how ozone can be created and measured for these purposes. 

There are many resources to further investigate the positive and negatives that surround this molecule.  Here are just a few:

Join me next week to learn more about how ozone is generated for these purposes.

Tags: USA Emissions, European Union Emissions, zero air generator, Zero Air, Environics Inc, ozone, ozone generator

How much clean air do we need?

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Wed, Mar 23, 2011 @ 02:07 PM

"We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"

Lee Iacocca, CEO/Chairman, Chrysler Corporation, 1979-1992

zero air clouds

After reading this funny quote today, I thought I would share with you some information about Zero Air.

What is "Zero Air" and why would you ever use it?  Well, when I googled "Zero Air," I was surprised to see 11 million results!! 

The EPA defines it like this:

Zero Air: Atmospheric air purified to contain less than 0.1 ppm total hydrocarbons. (http://www.epa.gov/OCEPAterms/xyzterms.html)

Although this definition only talks about purity from hydrocarbons, most systems designed to clean air, referred to as Zero Air Generators, go further.

Commonly, the following impurities are removed:

  • Water vapor

  • CO, NOx, SOx, H2S, ozone

  • Particulates

While various systems use various methods to remove each of the impurities, the most important thing is to know the efficiency with which the impurities are removed and how much of each could remain.  This P&ID shows the way Environics Zero Air Generator is designed (the purity levels for our system can be checked on the ZAG page if you are interested).

zag p&id

Another main difference between various systems is the rate and volume of flow it can provide.  Commonly, continuous delivery of up to 20 standard liters per minute (SLPM) is used for research and analytical applications.

Speaking of applications, once the air is cleaned, what is it used for?  The list of possible uses is long.  Some examples include:

  • a zero reference calibration gas

  • ultra-pure combustion air for flame ionization detector, flame photometric detectors and nitrogen phosphorus detectors,

  • service air for pneumatically operated valves,

  • source air for ozone generators,

  • source of air for purging permeation tube ovens

So, in answer to Mr. Iacocca, I would say it depends on the application!

To learn more, click here.

Tags: Gas Flow, zero air generator, Zero Air