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Workshop on Air Quality Monitoring

by Ismaiel Yakub, MIRTHE Industrial Intern

The Center for Mid-IR Technologies for Health and the Environment had its 8th Annual Industry Day Workshop on Friday, August 9, 2013. The event titled, "Workshop on Air Quality Monitoring related to Energy Extraction" was held at the Frick Chemistry Laboratory, Princeton University. This workshop was the first time that the center dedicated an entire day to the exploration of an application area, and in a field outside MIRTHE's typical industrial focus. The workshop, featuring distinguished speakers from academia, government, industry and the investment communities, was divided into three sessions -- including a roundtable panel discussion moderated by Ralph Taylor-Smith of Battelle Ventures, and co-chair of MIRTHE's Investment Focus Group. The event provided valuable insights into potential air quality monitoring needs and applications in the energy sector for MIRTHE.

The program started with a welcome and Center overview by MIRTHE Director Claire Gmachl, who welcomed the attendees and presented an overview of the MIRTHE. Dr. Gmachl chaired the morning session of the workshop.

The keynote lecture was given by Corrie Clark, of Argonne National Labs, who presented an overview of shale gas development and potential impacts. She also spoke about the practices and policies that are currently been developed and implemented to mitigate these impacts, as well as future challenges. Her talk was followed by an industry presentation by Alejandro Peña, Global Chemistry and Materials Portfolio Manager, Schlumberger, who gave a talk on recent advances in hydraulic fracturing in unconventional reservoirs. The last presentation of the morning session was delivered by Michael Wojcik, Space Dynamics Laboratory, and was on the emerging State and Federal regulatory landscape for hydraulic fracturing.

The afternoon applications session was chaired by Ismaiel Yakub, MIRTHE Industrial Intern, and featured four talks. The first was by Anna Michel, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who talked about her work on the development and deployment of an open-path quantum cascade laser-based methane sensor for measurement and characterization of the variability of methane concentrations across an artic lake. Next was Michael "Mickey" Frish, Physical Sciences Inc., who gave an overview of the current and emerging laser sensors for greenhouse gas detection and monitoring. His talk was followed by Leigh Bromley, Daylight Solutions, who gave a lecture on recent advances in robust mode-hop-free, narrow linewidth performance from a commercial quantum cascade laser-based system. The final applications session talk was presented by Mark Zondlo, Princeton University, who discussed his research group's effort and activities in developing and deploying vertical cavity and quantum cascade laser-based systems on mobile platforms, such as unmanned aerial vehicles and passenger cars, to identify and quantify the spatial and temporal distribution of methane emissions.

The workshop concluded with a roundtable panel discussion on needs for policy, technology and applications. The discussion, moderated by Ralph Taylor-Smith, General Partner, Battelle Ventures, and chaired by Joseph Montemarano, MIRTHE Executive Director, was a perfect complement to program as it gave valuable insights related to the challenges and opportunities that need to be addressed for commercial viability of QCL-based devices for sensing applications. The workshop was attended by large and diverse audience composed of more than 150 students, faculty, industry and government lab practitioners, as well as members of the public.

[PDF versions of the presentations given at the 2013 Energy Extraction Workshop can be found under "View MIRTHE files and videos" under the Center Member side of the website. Members may access the page by clicking here to login. Non-members may contact Joe Montemarano at [email protected] to request access.]


Panel discussion during the Workshop on Air Quality Monitoring related to Energy Extraction. (Left to right: Corrie Clark, Mark Zondlo, Michael Wojcik, Alejandro Peña, Mickey Frish, Anna Michel, Ralph Taylor-Smith)