The world currently produces about 175 million tons of ammonia (NH3) per year, often for use in fertilizers, a process that is energy-intensive and produces a lot of greenhouse gas. In fact, this industry is said to be responsible for approximately one to two percent of global carbon emissions, making it one of the worst on the planet. When combined with nitrogen oxides and Sulfur compounds produced by industrial factories and motor traffic, it can do some serious damage to the environment and communities. This dangerous combination forms Particle Matters – or PMs – which are responsible for pollution peaks and can cause major health problems in humans.
Another significant contributor to high ammonia levels is the agriculture industry, largely from animal rearing. The decomposition of litter in the closed environments where animals are housed for consumption creates vast amounts of ammonia. This threatens both the health of the animals and surrounding communities before it is dispersed into the upper atmosphere. Countries like China face serious environmental pollution in this regard, and are taking steps to reduce harmful exposure by relocating billions of livestock.
So, where does digital olfaction come into play?
In Europe, to help decrease ammonia emissions in the region and comply with NH3 policies, it has become clear that a robust method to more accurately measure ammonia levels is needed to better assist the farmers with decision making and ventilation. This is where the AmMoniAQ project comes in.
The AmMoniAQ (Ammonia Monitoring for Air Quality) project, funded by the AURA (AUvergne-Rhône Alpes) region, addresses this challenge by developing an ultra-high performance and high resolution analyzer, enabling an accurate quantification of ammonia in a complex environment. This device will be based on a combination of HEMERA technologies (a leading solution of NH3 quantification in the gas phase) and Aryballe (a digital olfaction sensor that also has an embedded PM sensor, a total VOC sensor and a humidity/temperature sensor). The combination of data provided from the Aryballe and HEMERA sensors will enable a more accurate ammonia measurement in ammonia-prone environments, ultimately leading to new and enhanced options of air quality monitoring that will be of great value for farmers.
We’re excited for this partnership and for the opportunity to work with HEMERA to help address the challenges surrounding ammonia pollution and measurement. Stay tuned for more updates as AmMoniAQ kicks off.
Learn more about the Aryballe product here.