The Ratiometric NDIR Analyzer for Robotic Platforms

Period of Performance: 01/01/2009 - 12/31/2009


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Atmospheric Observing Systems, Inc.
1930 Central Avenue, Suite A
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator


Almost all of America¿s energy needs are supplied by the combustion of fossil fuels, and a great amount of anthropogenic CO2 is a byproduct of this process. The DOE has expressed a need for the development of CO2 instrumentation that can be deployed on small balloons and other robotic platforms and can achieve 1 ppm accuracy for a temporal resolution less than 30 seconds. This project will design and build a new CO2 Nondispersive Infrared (NDIR) technology that is appropriate for a great many robotic platforms. In Phase I, four prototypes of the new NDIR technology were built and the best of them was selected for more than 50 tests in the laboratory. This prototype was then configured into a balloon payload that was tested in an environmental chamber within substantial ranges of ambient pressure (830 to 180 mBar) and temperature (+25 to -20 C). Phase II will build additional production payloads for testing on a tower and on balloons. The tower payloads will be tested for all four seasons, with the objective of providing an inexpensive tower analyzer system that can be operated autonomously at height for long duration. The balloon payloads will be tested in an unmanned airborne vehicle to validate performance through the atmospheric boundary layer.Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: The new NDIR technology could support the deployment of a great number of robotic platforms, thereby introducing a substantial resource into the developing field of Observational Climate Change. A distributed sensor network consisting of towers and balloons may produce a new data product, CO2 Weather, which would be intended to inform on the environmental impact of our day-to-day lives