Next Generation Air Measuring Research

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Traditionally, air pollution is measured by expensive, stationary and complex air-monitoring instrumentation. Only a few organizations, like federal, state and some industries, typically collect data of such high quality. Even so, this limits the amount of environmental monitoring data that is often available for exposure and health assessments. As air quality management problems become more complex, there is a need for enhanced air quality and exposure monitoring capabilities.

The main areas of air sensor research at EPA includes:

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Village Green Project

To meet this growing technological need, EPA, the commercial sensor industry, academic institutions, and others, are developing, evaluating and applying a variety of innovative technologies. Currently, EPA is investigating the means to monitor personal air quality in community settings, and other areas of interest. 

These air sensors range anywhere from an application on a cell phone to a device that gives by-the-minute, real-time data while interacting with the public.

This project developed a solar-powered air monitoring system in the shape of a bench, and encourages the public to interact and learn more about their local air quality. People can interact with the bench system with their Smartphones and see current local air quality and meteorological conditions. The air pollutants being measured include ozone, black carbon and particulate matter where the system automatically sends collected data to an online, open-sourced website. This system is charged by two solar panels and will automatically turn off in dark, cloudy conditions and re-start once the sun again comes out.

Village Green Pergola

Related Resources

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Air Sensor Studies

Rapid developments in technology led to the production of small, low-cost air pollution sensors. These new technologies, used by academics, industry, communities and individuals, symbolize the future of air quality monitoring. New technologies have the potential to serve many purposes, including:
  • In-plant sensor networks and “fenceline” monitoring – facilities could use sensor networks to detect fugitive emissions
  • Monitoring near emissions sources – helping communities understand near-source exposures
  • Wearable sensors – engaging citizens in personal monitoring, and learning about exposures during exercise and the exposure of sensitive family members
  • Mobile sensor platforms – developing spatially resolved data on air quality in local areas
  • Supplementing current air quality monitoring networks with a high density sensor network

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