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A Direct Absorption Spectrometer for Low Drift and High Accuracy Measurements of Methane Isot

Award Information
Agency: Department of Commerce
Branch: N/A
Contract: WC-133R-16-CN-0043
Agency Tracking Number: WC-133R-16-CN-0043
Amount: $119,810.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.3.3
Solicitation Number: NOAA-2016-1
Solicitation Year: 2015
Award Year: 2016
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2016-05-29
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2016-11-29
Small Business Information
45 Manning Road
Billerica, MA 01821-3976
United States
DUNS: 030817290
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Scott Herndon
 (978) 932-0266
Business Contact
 Jiri Cistecky
Phone: (978) 932-0217
Research Institution

Atmospheric methane (CH4) is a potent greenhouse gas and ozone precursor that is
increasingly important in our understanding and modeling of climate change. Identifying and
differentiating methane sources are crucial to any strategies aimed at reducing CH4 emissions.
Isotopic composition and ethane content are both dependent upon methane origin, making them
valuable diagnostics for source attribution. Instrumentation capable of fast, high precision
quantification of CH4 isotopes and ethane aboard an aircraft platform will advance scientifically
backed methane mitigation strategies.

This proposal aims to develop a flight-capable laser-based monitor for 12CH4, 13CH4, CH3D, and
C2H6. The 1 Hz standard deviation performance targets of d-13CH4 precision of 0.5 per mil and
d-CH3D precision of 10 per mil delta units, and C2H6 mixing ratio precision of 10 parts per
trillion will be achieved in this work. These performance goals will be met using direct absorption
infrared spectrometry, which has been demonstrated to achieve the desired precision under
laboratory conditions. As outlined in the proposal, the technical challenges are:
i) identifying and eliminating sources of measurement drift due to aircraft motion, temperature and
pressure changes, ii) developing innovative zeroing and calibration methods amenable to
these high precision measurements, and iii) designing a flight-ready instrumentation package.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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