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US EPA Released Sixth Year of Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program Data

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Tue, Oct 04, 2016 @ 01:10 PM

Today, the US EPA released the 2015 data under the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program. The report details the sixth year of greenhouse gas pollution trends from large industrial sources.

Overall, reported emissions decreased by almost 5% percent from 2014, and 8.2 percent from 2011.  The more than 8,000 large sector facilities contribute about half of the total Greenhouse Gas emissions annually.


  • Power plants accounted for approximately 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, which accounts for 30 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas pollution in 2015. This is a declined of 6.2 percent as compared to 2014, and 11.3 percent since 2011. These ~1,500 plants are the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Second to power plants, petroleum and natural gas systems reported 231 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, down 1.6 percent from than 2014. Overall, however, this sector is actually up over 4% from the 2011 figures.
  • Most other sectors reported emissions reductions. The most significant declines were reported by the iron and steel sector and the production of fluorinated chemicals.  

The data can be used by businesses and communities to find opportunies to reduce pollution and wasted energy and to enjoy cost savings. The report can also be used to aid in the development of climate policies

To learn more, check out the GHG Emmissions page. You can also utilize the EPA's FLIGHT ( Facility Level Information on GreenHouse gases Tool), to "quickly and easily filter GHG data in a variety of ways, including by facility, industry, location, or gas." 


Tags: EPA, Air Pollution, air quality

Air Quality and the Paris Agreement

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Fri, Sep 09, 2016 @ 10:00 AM


As we end the summer, this year is expected to be the hottest on record for the second year in a row. Climate change is on the forefront of President Obama's mind in his final months in office. Last week, he delivered paperwork commiting the US to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gas pollution to about a quarter below the levels from 2005 by 2025. Likewise, China , the leading producer of greenhouse gas, has committed to a halt in emissions by 2030. A large part of this decrease has been attributed to the reduction in coal consumption.

The Paris agreement now has been signed by 55 countries, responsible for over 55% of the global pollution, and it is expected to take effect this November. It remains to be determined how the agreement will be implemented. Clinton is likely to follow the lead of President Obama. It is less likely that Trump would continue on this path since he has voiced his opinion that global warming is not real.

Once it takes effect, countries are expected to self-regulate. This would include reporting levels as well as actions and activities that are being conducted to meet the agreed upon levels. While the UN is unable to enforce commitment to the agreement, countries that fail to live up to the standards could leave themselves open to embargoes or other trade related sanctions. In the end, following through on the agreement is entirely voluntary.

With the Paris agreement in the news, air quality monitoring will continue to be a key issue going forward.


To Learn More About the Environics Ambient Monitor Calibration Systems, click here.

Contact Us!

Tags: USA Emissions, EPA, Air Pollution, ambient air calibrator, Emission Standards, European Union Emissions

The Next Generation ROBD

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Wed, Sep 07, 2016 @ 09:50 AM

Environics is pleased to announce the release of the next generation ROBD, available now.

We manufactured the original ROBD (licensed from U.S. Navy under U.S. Patent Application No. 10/959.764) back in 2007. Since then, the units have been used worldwide for both research and training of pilots and flight crews. The newly released ROBD incorporates updates to suit the current and future needs of the users of the ROBD in the field.

 6202-1.jpgThe newly incorporated features include:

  • A new pulse oximeter with touch screen interface
  • Enter one flow rate for all altitudes between 40 and 80 LPM
  • Breathing bag is replaced with an internal reservoir, generating a faster refresh rate to the mask.
  • Addition of an inline Oxygen filter.
  • Pulse ox probe connection moved to the rear of the chassis
  • HRT is the only program type.


As always safety, accuracy and repeatability are of the utmost concern.

The 6202 uses Thermal Mass Flow Controllers (MFC) to mix breathing air and nitrogen to produce the sea level equivalent atmospheric oxygen contents for altitudes up to 40,000 feet. The MFC's are calibrated on a primary flow standard traceable to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The system introduces pressure changes and gas expansion as a function of altitude. Several safety features are built into the device: prevention of over pressurization of the subject's mask, prevention of reduced oxygen contents below those being requested for a particular altitude and an emergency dump switch that will supply 100% O2 to subjects. The software is menu driven.  Built-in self-tests verify all system component functionality before the operation of the system can begin. If any self-test fails the system will not operate. The system is designed to work with both bottled gases and gases produced by a Nitrogen/Air Generator (available separately).

Interested in learning more? Check out the ROBD data sheet.

Want someone to contact you for more information or pricing?

Contact Us!

Tags: Hypoxia, ROBD, hypoxia training, research

EPA and CARB Crack Down on Clean Air Violation by Volkswagen

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Fri, Sep 18, 2015 @ 03:02 PM

The US EPA announced on Monday that a notice of violation, or NOV, of the Clean Air Act was issued to Volkswagen. The EPA states that the model years 2009-2015 Volkswagen and Audi vehicles (4-cylinder diesels) included software that allowed the cars to evade some emissions standards.

epa_logo-resized-600Cynthia Giles, the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, stated, “Working closely with the California Air Resources Board, EPA is committed to making sure that all automakers play by the same rules. EPA will continue to investigate these very serious matters.”

The NOV explains that these vehicles had software that turns on "full emissions control" only during automotive emissions testing and not during everyday use. This allowed the cars to pass the test but to emit NOx (nitrogen oxides) at up to 40 times the permitted allowance. The EPA defines this as a "defeat device" as it was designed specifically to evade testing.

This follows a 1.1 million dollar fine that Volkswagen paid back in 2005 when they failed to report the defect oxygen sensor that affected 199-2001 vehicles. These vehicles produced "thousands of tons of harmful pollutants including nonmethane hydrocarbons (NMHC) and carbon monoxide (CO). NMHC are key reactants in the production of ozone, a major contributor to cancer-causing smog." (Volkswagen of America, Inc., Agrees to Pay More Than $1 Million for Clean Air Act Violation, Release Date: 06/15/2005)

To read the full NOV, check out the full post on the EPA site.

Tags: EPA

Hypoxia in the News - Possible Cause of Small Aircraft Crash

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 @ 10:34 AM

Hypoxia was in the news recently after a small aircraft went down near Jamaica. After initialing radioing for permission to descend from 25,000 to 20,000 feet due to an indication of an issue, all communication was lost.  NORAD tweeted that two F-15s were scrambled to the location and that hypoxia was suspected.  The military pilots reported the windows were fogged and the pilot was slumped in his seat, though breathing. The plane continued to fly on autopilot until it crashed north of Jamaica.

Hypoxic conditions can set in as low as 8-10,000 feet, but the symptoms often can go unnoticed until it is too late to react.  Military pilots, and more and more civilian pilots, undergo hypoxia training using the Reduced Oxygen Training Device with the hope that these early signs are recognized sooner so corrective actions (descent to 15,000 and taking in supplemental oxygen) can be taken.  Check out these past posts (here, here and here), to learn more about the effect that hypoxia has on both military and civilian pilots flying at altitude. 

But what causes hypoxia at altitude?  Here's a quick look at the science behind hypoxia.

Environment at Altitude - Pressure

Image of the top layers of the earth's atmosph...

Earth's atmosphere encompasses us with a gaseous envelope which rotates with the planet.   Commonly, it is said that as you go higher in altitude about the ground, the air is "thin."  This implies that there is a change in the composition of the air at altitude, which is not true.  The total blend of gaseous components (predominately nitrogen (78%) and oxygen (21%) remains the same.  What changes is the number of oxygen molecules per unit volume of air.  Why?  Because this is directly affected by pressure, which decreases as you go up in altitude.  So, while the same percent of oxygen is in the air, the actual value is highly lower.  A simple analogy would be that on the ground 21% oxygen is like 21 red marbles in a cup of blue marbles while at altitude, it is 21 red marbles in a bathtub full of blue marbles.

In addition to the change in pressure, the lower temperature at altitude affects the gases.  This effect is not as substantial as that of pressure, but is still important.  The heat comes primarily from the heat of the Earth, not the sun.  So, the higher up, the cooler it becomes (approximately 2°C for every additional thousand feet of altitude).

Science 101 - Gas Laws

A quick refresher of the main gas laws that will come into play.

Dalton's Law -  With constant temperature and pressure, the sum of the component gas pressures in a gas mixture will be equal to the total pressure of the mixture.  So, for our situation, since the percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere is 21%, we can calculate the partial pressure of oxygen at any altitude.  This is key since the partial pressure of oxygen available plays a critical role in determining the onset and severity of hypoxia.

Graham's Law - A gas at high pressure exerts a force on a region of lower pressure.  This can be simplified if you think of it as an attempt to reach an equilibrium.  If there is a permeable or semi-permeable membrane between two gases, and gas will move from the area of higher pressure to the area of lower pressure until equilibrium is reached.  All gases act this way and they do so independently in part of a gas mixture.  It's possible (and actually probably) to gases in a mixture moving in opposite directions across the same membrane.  In terms of the human body, this occurs to transfer oxygen in cells and tissues.

The Human Body at Altitude

Human lung

What does all of that mean in terms of an actual human in a plane at altitude?  Good question!

At sea level, the air that we breathe is at a pressure of 760 mm Hg, with the partial pressure of oxygen being 160 mm Hg (think of Dalton's Law, 21% of 760 mm Hg). By the time the oxygen gets to the lung, we are down to about 14% (106.4 mm Hg) oxygen and an increase concentration of carbon dioxide at a pressure of 41.8 mm Hg.  After sending the oxygen rich blood out to the rest of the body, the returning blood carries oxygen at only 40 mm Hg.  As we determined from Graham's Law, the oxygen will move from the higher pressure in the lung into the blood, where it is low while the carbon dioxide will move in the opposite direction.  This cycle (breath in oxygen rich air, oxygen in the lung moves into the oxygen depleted blood, carbon dioxide moves out of blood, breathe out carbon dioxide rich air) continues with each breath.

And at altitude?

Well, at sea level, the pressure differences that allow the transfer of oxygen are sufficient to cause the blood leaving the lungs to be almost totally (97%) saturated with oxygen. Move up to the top of Pike's Peak (about 14,500 feet) the oxygen saturation drops with the pressure to about 80% and symptoms of altitude sickness appear with any prolonged exposure.  At 25,000 feet, the partial pressure of oxygen in the lung is 14% of 281.8 mm Hg or 39.5 mm Hg.  This is LOWER than the pressure of oxygen in the blood returning to the lung. The transfer of oxygen is therefore interrupted, and a body in this circumstance will quickly lose consciousness.  In between these two altitudes, symptoms from mild vision issues to serious disorientation are seen.

Tags: Environics Inc, Hypoxia, ROBD, pilot training, hypoxia training, ROBD2

Custom System Focus - Explosive Gas Mixing and Dilution

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Thu, Sep 04, 2014 @ 02:24 PM

At Environics, all of our units are custom built for our customers' specific needs.  Customers who need to dilute/mix explosive gases often come to us for help creating highly specialized systems. Most often, this is in order to calibrate gas detectors or for research or calibration purposes.  To meet these unique needs, Environics designed a modified version of our Series 4040 gas dilution system which included a dual chassis design.

explosive gas mixerThe electronics enclosure includes the power supply and PC boards for controlling the Mass Flow Controllers (MFC) and direct acting solenoid valves in the second enclosure. The electronics enclosure connects to a computer via a 9 pin serial port connector and cable. The 4040 software, on the computer, communicates with the microcomputer board inside the electronics enclosure.

explsoive gas dilutionThe second enclosure is sealed and houses the MFCs, valves and components to support the enclosure purge. A continuous purge flows through the enclosure while it is running. This serves two purposes. The first is to carry out heat built up by the internal components. The second is to dilute any potential leaks that may develop. The gas plumbing inside this enclosure was vacuum leak tested to 1X10-8 ATM CC/SEC He.

In addition to continuous purge flow, the enclosure is pressurized to approximately 5” H20 while running the enclosure purge. This provides and indicator that the purge is activated as well as preventing any air leaks into the enclosure from outside. A safety vent was  added to vent the enclosure to atmosphere if the pressure inside the enclosure reaches 20” H20. This could happen if for some reason the purge vent becomes blocked or the pressure on the purge rotameter is too high.

The two enclosures are connected electrically via two control cables labeled MFCs and VALVES. An earth ground wire is connected from the electronics chassis to the aluminum mounting plate inside the purged enclosure. This safely discharges any static electricity that can build up in a system with flow.

Have a similar need or need help with another unique set of conditions?  You can contact us at (860) 872-1111 or here for more information.

Tags: Environics Inc, gas mixing, gas dilution, calibration, customer focus, explosive gas mixing, custom gas mixing system

In the News - US EPA Presents Clean Power Plan

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Thu, Jun 12, 2014 @ 12:09 PM

in the newsOn June 2, following an announcement by President Obama, the US EPA presented the Clean Power Plan, "a commonsense plan to cut carbon pollution from power plant" with the stated goal of maintaining "an affordable, reliable energy system" while reducing pollutants that are harmful to people as well as the environment."

Throughout the US, power plant emissions account for roughly one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, there are no national guidelines to limit carbon pollution levels, though the levels of other toxins, including arsenic, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particles, are restricted.  In the US, CO2 emissions account for 82% of all green house gas emisions, according to data reported by the EPA from 1990-2012.

us epaAlthough the mandate is set at the federal level, the guidelines give states the ability to establish their own internal goals and to design a program based on their specific needs and capabilities.  These plans must be submitted to the EPA by June 2016. Each state's plan must have enforceable limits, and must include how the levels will be reported and monitored.  There must also be a method for corrective actions for those who fall short. The EPA will require biannual reporting of the state's progress.

Once the plan is accepted, states have to reach interim goals by 2020 and have until 2030 to meet the final goal of a 30% decrease in carbon emissions from the levels reported in 2005. To put that in perspective, that is equal to the emissions from powering 65 million homes, roughly half of the homes in America.

In addition to the 30% reduction in carbon emissions, the Clean Power Plan will also result in the reduction of particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by more than 25 percent.  Consumers should also benefit from a roughly 8 percent decrease in their electric bills due to increased energy efficiency and reduced demand in the electricity system.



To read the plan or to learn more, visit the US EPA's Clean Power Plan sitePublic Hearings are to be held during the last week of July. 

Share your thoughts on the new plan below.

Tags: USA Emissions, EPA, Air Pollution, air quality, Emission Standards

Update from Our Customer Service Department

Posted by Rachel Stansel on Fri, Apr 04, 2014 @ 10:02 AM

paul resized 600As most of you know, last week marked the last day for our long-time Service Manager, Paul.  After 22 years with Environics, he is moving and starting a new chapter in his life.  We will all miss him and wish him the very best!

With service on our minds, I bring to you today a few of the more commonly asked questions from our customers.  If you have a question, you can always reach us via our website, email or by phone.



gas mixing systemSERIES 2000/9100

My system locked up.  What should I do?

I replaced the system batteries and now I see odd characters on the screen.  Help!

In both of these cases, the system needs to be reinitialized to factory settings using the system configuration data provided with the system.  Tech Bulletin 104 outlines how to proceed.  If you've misplaced your system's data, you can request a copy online.



gas mixerI'm not getting flow but I can hear the solenoids clicking on.  What should I do?

The instrument's configuration data may be corrupted.  Tech Bulletin 107 will walk you through how to confirm the calibration data is in error and show you how to restore it.


SERIES 6100 OR 9100

ambient calibratorI want to recalibrate my ozone generator.  What should I do?

If you are interested in doing this calibration and have the necessary equipment, Tech Bulletin 106 (9100) and Tech Bulletin 114 (6100) will guide you step by step through the process.  Be sure to read through all of the notes on preparing the system prior to calibration.

Tags: Environics Inc, ozone, gas mixing, gas mixer, ozone generator, Profile

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