Ammonia Sensor for CAFO Monitoring.

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


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

21806 NE 1ST ST
Sammamish, WA 98074
Principal Investigator


Ammonia is difficult to measure, especially for the dusty environment and relatively high ammonia levels found in poultry concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO's). Literature and discussions with operators suggest that its measurement and control is highly desirable with significant economic, health and regulatory impacts. A sensor with suitable sensitivity, range and durability would find additional significant applications in monitoring waste lagoons, feedlots, or land where waste is applied. However, there are no commercially available devices that are sufficiently economical, robust, and practical for use in a typical CAFO to control ammonia exposure levels, ventilation, air-quality control or feeding systems, and environmental emissions. The optical ammonia monitor described in this proposal provides a unique, low-cost sensor system resistant to the fouling and poisoning that plagues both inexpensive and high-cost conventional instrument systems. Components of the system have been successfully deployed for leak monitoring in ammonia refrigerated controlled-atmosphere storage rooms and for human breath-testing where it has been shown to measure very low concentrations of ammonia. The development described in this proposal will extend the measurement range of the sensor system and develop quantitative algorithms for translation of the optical signals to ammonia levels. After modifications to the instrument that allow for up to one-month of unattended operation, these ammonia sensor systems will then be tested in an environmental chamber over a range of ammonia, humidity and temperature conditions followed by tests in an operational poultry house.