Use of an unmanned aircraft system to quantify NO x emissions from a natural gas boiler

Gullett, Brian; Aurell, Johanna; Mitchell, William; Richardson, Jennifer

Aerial emission sampling of four natural gas boiler stack plumes was conducted using an unmanned aerial system (UAS) equipped with a lightweight sensor–sampling system (the “Kolibri”) for measurement of nitrogen oxide (NO), and nitrogen dioxide (NOinline-formula2), carbon dioxide (COinline-formula2), and carbon monoxide (CO). Flights (inline-formulaninline-formula= 22) ranged from 11 to 24 min in duration at two different sites. The UAS was maneuvered into the plumes with the aid of real-time COinline-formula2 telemetry to the ground operators and, at one location, a second UAS equipped with an infrared–visible camera. Concentrations were collected and recorded at 1 Hz. The maximum COinline-formula2, CO, NO, and NOinline-formula2 concentrations in the plume measured were 10 000, 7, 27, and 1.5 ppm, respectively. Comparison of the NOinline-formulax emissions between the stack continuous emission monitoring systems and the UAS–Kolibri for three boiler sets showed an average of 5.6 % and 3.5 % relative difference for the run-weighted and carbon-weighted average emissions, respectively. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence of the accuracy performance of UAS-based emission factors against a source of known strength.

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Gullett, Brian / Aurell, Johanna / Mitchell, William / et al: Use of an unmanned aircraft system to quantify NOx emissions from a natural gas boiler. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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