Public Lab Research note

Flare Spectrometer proposal in Shreveport and Meraux Louisiana

by AndyZ | November 22, 2013 18:06 22 Nov 18:06 | #9815 | #9815



  1. Proposed sites:
  2. Calumet Lubricants 8 (AI 1214) in Shreveport, LA
  3. Hosted by: Andy Zellinger with Louisiana Bucket brigade and Residents for Air Neutralization thanks to support from Public Lab
  4. Address: TBD
  5. Valero Refining (Ai 1238) in Meraux, LA
  6. Hosted by: Dan Beavers thanks to support from Public Lab
  7. Address: Dan Beavers has confirmed with a property owner - pictures

  8. Overall purpose - what we hope to gain, what the community can gain If emission spectra are detected, attempt to match them with reference data from NIST utilizing the Public Lab Spectral Workbench. We would also compare matched emission spectra to the self-reporting from the refineries themselves utilizing Louisiana Bucket Brigade’s Refinery Accident Database. If, for example, we detect lead, and the company reports lead, we have a great validation of our ability to detect that contaminant while it's happening. We could use this data to empower community based activists groups, and urge regulators such as U.S. EPA to set new emissions standards for frequently emitted elements.

  9. Design specifications of the spectrometer (Detection of pollutant types and limits, size of equipment, how it stores data, etc.) The size of a Public Lab spectrometer is approximately 6 inches long 2 inches wide and 3 inches tall. These spectrometers are available in unassembled kits for $40 US dollars. Developed by Public Lab contributors, this open source instrument is capable of better than 3 nanometer spectral resolution and can record light from ~390 to ~900nm. Though experimental, this tool has already been used to collect spectral data on contaminated water, laundry detergent, wines, and fishtank lights. We are really doing a proof of concept here -- our outcomes may be more about testing the device and its suitability for this purpose, and troubleshooting and improving the experimental setup of our tools, rather than (at this point, anyways) collecting persuasive data which we can take to regulators. That said, we should document what we do very clearly so that others can reproduce what we do. The more people watching these flares, the better!

  10. Placement criteria (inside, next to a window, within xx feet of flare, etc.) PublicLab has a window tripod if necessary. We could super glue a nut to the spectrometer to fit any regular tripod.

  11. Who will be responsible and how much time it will take one person for maintenance, trouble shooting, data download, and data analysis Andy Zellinger will be responsible for downloading Calumet/Shreveport data. Dan Beavers will be responsible for downloading Valero/Meraux data. Public Lab contributors will assist with analysis and troubleshooting.

  12. Materials: • WIFI cell hot spot - contract required for 1 year so funding for the whole year would be requested-$600 • RaspberryPI (2) • PIcam (2) • low resolution thermal imaging sensor and additionally necessary components(2) • 2 spectrometers (2 from Valero site, how many from Chalmette?) • USB powered hub (below items can be lumped together for about $150) • misc. cables • power supplies • misc. mounting hardware • web Storage


Just caught this whole looking up some other stuff. The technique most commonly used is atomic emission spectroscopy AES. The flame is so strong, that they Usually give all kinds of interferences. So, usually, the UV part of the spectrum is used. For example, a common line with lead (Pb) is 283nm, with 217 nm as a back up. These intermission lines, so no lamp is needed. But since the strength of the flame is so strong, filters, before the spectrometer, are common. Hope this helps.

Doggone spell check. It should be" These are emission lines, so no lamp is needed. " not " These intermission lines, so no lamp is needed. "

Reply to this comment...

As with everything else, there are many possible interferences. Is this project still active?

Is this a question? Click here to post it to the Questions page.

Reply to this comment...

Login to comment.