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Customer case – FluxSense: Industrial computers from Recab to measure emissions
The importance of knowledge of gas emissions. Back in 2001, FluxSense AB started off as a spin-off company from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg on the Swedish west coast. They wanted to provide the ability to execute reliable diffuse emission measurements for the petroleum and petrochemical industry. Since the start they have operated in close partnership with Chalmers University of Technology. The CEO still works part time as a professor at the university and most of their eight employees in Sweden are former postgraduates.
Increasing regulations to improve environmental health
Gas emissions from anthropogenic (man-made) and biogenic (natural) sources contribute to a wide range of environmental problems. Some examples are climate change, ozone depletion, air pollution, photochemical smog, acidification and eutrophication. Increasing regulations, regulatory oversight, and efforts to improve environmental health have made measurements of emission from production facilities a standard in Europe (CEN). With The Paris Agreement regulations and requirements for proper measurements are spreading across the globe.
Knowledge about the emissions and concentrations of the gases leaving industries are crucial for efficient regulations and abatement measures. Diffuse (non-channeled) emissions from large facilities have, historically, been expensive, troublesome if even possible to measure. This has led to idealized calculations based on models and estimations. Which leads to results far from correct due to inaccurate input of data and algorithms.
The techniques for measure emissions
FluxSense AB is the sole licensee for the Solar Occultation Flux (SOF [Technologoy:SOF]) technique and have developed other techniques as well. The SOF technique was developed at Chalmers University. When the requests for usage of the technique grew the company was founded. The technique uses infra-red lights and through optical spectroscopy they study how different gas emissions changes the color of the sunlight.
Emission Quantification, Leak Search, Concentration Mapping, and Air Quality Monitoring
FluxSense AB can therethrough measure the amounts of gas emissions leaving a facility. They can also measure what type of gases the facility is leaking or identify previously unknown gas leaks. Their solution focuses on mainly four services, Emission Quantification, Leak Search, Concentration Mapping, and Air Quality Monitoring.
“In addition of receiving numbers of their emissions in kilograms/hour, which is of interest for both the industries themselves and the authorities, our customers learn their facility and we can find leakages they didn’t know they had. Leakages that can result in a large part of their total emissions.” Oscar Isoz at FluxSense says.
In the beginning, FluxSense AB solely offered services to help measure emissions such as hydrocarbons from industries. During the past two of years, they have expanded their business and developed their solutions to be able to provide their customers with both mobile (customer controlled) and stationary (remotely controlled by FluxSense AB) measurement centers.
High demands for industrial computers
For the first measurement systems they sold they used laptops. The laptops were moved in and out of the cars, a solution that was ineffective and unreliable. Since the measurement system is a complicated system in itself, there is no place for the computers to be a factor of error. Because of this FluxSense started looking into using industrial computers instead. This is when they came in contact with Recab.
– “We needed two simple, yet very reliable computers that could process and conduct these measurements within our mobile and our stationary solutions, Samuel Brohede at FluxSense says. “It is of the highest importance that the computers are able to make the measurements at all times or at the programmed time. If the computers fail the measurements fail and become unreliable, which defeats the whole purpose.”
The mobile solutions must be user-friendly
The demand for a reliable product is high both for the mobile and the stationary solutions. The computers must be able to run the systems and store measurement data. The mobile solutions must be user-friendly for the customers and easily operated. The computers in the stationary solutions operates twenty-four hours a day. They must be able to process the data and deliver reliable numbers at all times. The computers have high demands of being rugged and durable as well.
-“Both sun and wind conditions are essential to be able to perform some of our measurement techniques” Brohede says. “Depending on the weather our possible measurement days, or even hours, can be very limited. Therefore, it is absolute necessary that the computers work whenever they are needed.”
Industrial computers with higher operational reliability
The industrial computers have higher operational reliability. are rugged to endure stress from vibrations and wide ranges of operational temperatures. Another advantage is that the modules aren’t changed as often as commercial computers. This ensures that FluxSense can assist their customers and provide them with support, and if needed spare parts, easily.
-“We think the cooperation with Recab has worked really, really well.” Oscar Isoz says “As soon as we have had a question, we have received a detailed response and have received a lot of help throughout the years. We feel like we did the right choice when choosing you as a supplier two years ago. There are many industrial computers that malfunctions, but these have worked very well so far.”
The computers as Fluxsense use for measure emissions
VBOX-3611-i5 – On-board computer by Sintrones
NUVO-7002LP-i3-8-512 – Rugged embedded computer by Neosys Technology
FluxSense view of their future for measure emissions
The company have since the beginning conducted well over 100 measurement campaigns of industrial and agricultural emissions in Europe, America and Asia. The main office remains in Sweden and FluxSense employees travel all over the world to assist their customers. They have opened up a branch called FluxSense Incorporated on the west coast in the US with two employees stationed there. Since then their business opportunities in the US have grown to be equal if not larger than in Sweden.
-“As of now we work mainly with the authorities in the US, but with the current change of view of the environment and what needs to be done, we are sure to see the interest of companies self-interest in these types of solutions grow.”Isoz concludes.“We see positively at our future, we have conducted measurements for many years now. The techniques and our company have become established and well known, more requests are coming in.
A large market for these kinds of solutions is East Asia. We have already conducted a couple of measurements in China and hope to expand our business there as well as in the US and Europe. The Paris Agreement and other universal environmental agreements like it puts pressure on the authorities as well as the industries to ensure that they have knowledge of what kinds of emissions they let out into the air and regular tests may become mandatory, we provide an effective solution and are eager to help facilities all over the globe.”
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