Industry News: Environmental Protection Enforced with the Help of Optical Gas Imaging

22 Feb 2012

FLIR Advanced Thermal Solutions has released a new applications report that describes how the Dutch Environmental Protection Agency (DMCR) is using a FLIR GF320 optical gas detection camera to uphold regulations regarding fugitive gas emissions in Rijnmond, the larger 'Port of Rotterdam' area in the Netherlands.

Due to the presence of the largest seaport in Europe the Rijnmond area is filled with heavy industry, including refineries, waste incinerators, waste dumping sites as well as many large chemical and metallurgical plants. All of these operations bring with them a risk of pollution.

After comparing several techniques, including Differential Absorption Light Detection (DIAL) and Solar Occultation Flux (SOF), the report details how the DMCR opted for a FLIR GF320 optical gas imaging camera as its method of choice to detect airborne environmental pollutants. Technical specialists at DMCR concluded that while traditional methods such as DIAL and SOF are robust and can quantify the emissions these technologies are very expensive to purchase, they are unwieldy, requiring large trucks to carry the equipment, and also complicated, requiring a lot of training to be used effectively. In comparison the GF-Series camera was seen to provide considerable benefits in terms of affordability, compactness, portability, and was very easy to use, requiring very little training.

DMCR concluded that the FLIR GF320 optical gas imaging camera is a quick, non-contact measuring instrument that can immediately give the camera operator an overview of a fugitive emission. It can also be used in hard-to-access locations, since it can detect small leaks from several meters away and big leaks from hundreds of meters away, and it can also show leaks in moving transport vehicles, such as tanker trucks, but also barges and rail wagons.

The DCMR Environmental Protection Agency is the regional environmental agency of the local and regional authorities operating in Rijnmond, the larger 'Port of Rotterdam' area in the Netherlands. The tasks of the DCMR include regulation of the industries, monitoring and assisting authorities on developing environmental policy. The DCMR issues permits to virtually all of the 22,000 enterprises in the area and carries out more than 9,000 inspections to monitor compliance with the permit conditions.

The FLIR GF320 Optical Gas Imaging camera is a real-time infrared camera designed for use in harsh industrial environments. The FLIR GF320 takes advantage of state-of-the-art focal plane array detector and optical systems that are tuned to very narrow spectral infrared ranges. This enables the camera to image infrared energy absorbed by certain environmentally polluting gases. Images are processed and enhanced by the FLIR High Sensitivity Mode™ feature to clearly show the presence of gases against stationary backgrounds. Gases that are detectable by the FLIR GF320 camera appear on screen as smoke plumes.