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Novel Compact Ceilometer

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0017078
Agency Tracking Number: 0000227888
Amount: $228,682.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 20c
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0001618
Solicitation Year: 2017
Award Year: 2017
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2017-02-21
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2018-02-20
Small Business Information
13605 Dulles Technology Drive
Herndon, VA 20171-4603
United States
DUNS: 107940207
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Michael Albert
 (703) 471-7671
Business Contact
 Tracy Perinis
Phone: (703) 471-7671
Research Institution

The DOE SBIR call asks that a new ceilometer instrument be developed for the AmeriFlux network to
measure properties of the atmosphere that can be used to infer the flux, transport of CO2 and water vapor across North, Central and South America. This proposal provides a tool to address one of AmeriFlux most pressing scientific questions: “What is the spatial and temporal variation of boundary layer CO2 concentrations, and how does this vary with topography, climatic zone and vegetation?” The lower troposphere is the most difficult part of the atmosphere to simulate with models because there are many complex interactions occurring between the Earth’s surface and the lower atmosphere. Improving our scientific understanding of the Atmospheric Boundary Layer can help our society in many ways, such as improving wind forecasts for the growing renewable wind energy industry. Fibertek, Inc. will deliver a small, environmentally robust, compact, low power, low maintenance, eye safe, ceilometer system that will provide measurements of the Atmospheric Boundary Layer which is a highly sought after by the AmeriFlux scientific community, airports and wind farms. By developing a highly capable, lower cost and smaller form factor product than presently available, that addresses AmeriFlux’s need to accurately describe macroscale cloud properties and how they evolve with time, over a range of land use and ecosystem types, we expect to have a product with farther reaching market potential. The proposed high spatial resolution lidar exceeds the performance of traditional ceilometers and will measure a vertically resolved backscatter lidar signal well beyond the boundary layer in both day and night conditions and enable diurnal transport flux measurements. Fibertek plans to conduct detailed lidar performance modeling and optical design to validate that our proposed approach will meet our science objectives. We then plan to design and build a transportable breadboard lidar using COTS parts and laboratory mounts. Pennsylvania State University will validate the lidar performance at their local meteorology test site and verify that the science objectives can be met. Our improved measurement capability is expected to be of keen interest to the AmeriFlux Community, as well as airports and wind farm markets where the measurement can directly enhance their respective missions. Though there are several commercially available ceilometers, none currently provide the desired ability to make detailed atmospheric and boundary layer measurements. Target market customers can benefit from the afforded operational efficiency and other societal benefits can result from improved climate modeling and forecasting capability.

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

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