News in Brief

With news on: Google pollution street mapping; Optare award nominations; We Care 4 Air spare parts deal, and; Ion Science’s handheld VOC monitor

Google street-map cars to monitor San Francisco air pollution

Technology giant Google has partnered with a San Francisco environmental monitoring company to measure air pollution in Denver using Google Map and Street View Cars

One of Google's Street Map cars

One of Google’s Street Map cars

Technology giant Google is to begin measuring air pollution in San Francisco using its Google Map and Street View image-collecting vehicles under a partnership with environmental sensor company Aclima.

The partnership will see Google’s Street View cars equipped with Aclima’s mobile monitoring sensing platform in order to take measurements of nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, black carbon, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

A month-long pilot of the project has already taken place in the Denver metro area, where Google Street View cars clocked 750 hours of drive time and gathered 150 million data points, which were correlated with data from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s stationary measurement sites.

According to Aclima, the partnership with Google will enable mobile mapping of air quality to give a detailed picture of community or urban areas at street level and will complement the EPA’s stationary monitoring network.

The mobile mapping project will now be expanded to the San Francisco Bay Area this autumn.

Davida Herzl, co-founder and chief executive of Aclima, said: “We have a profound opportunity to understand how cities live and breathe in an entirely new way by integrating Aclima’s mobile sensing platform with Google Maps and Street View cars. With more than half of the world’s population now living in cities, environmental health is becoming increasingly important to quality of life.”

Karin Tuxen-Bettman, program manager for Google Earth Outreach, added: “Environmental air quality is an issue that affects everyone, especially those living in big cities. This partnership with Aclima enables us to take the next steps in our pilot project to utilise Street View’s existing infrastructure and test Google Maps as an environmental sensing platform for mapping the environment. We hope this information will enable more people to be aware of how our cities live and breathe, and join the dialog on how to make improvements to air quality.”

Optare electric buses up for several awards

Bus manufacturer Optare has been shortlisted for several awards for its contribution towards reducing air pollution emissions through its electric buses.

One of Optare's Solo electric buses outside Selby Leisure Centre in Yorkshire

One of Optare’s Solo electric buses outside Selby Leisure Centre in the Midlands

Last week, Optare was shortlisted for Transport Supplier of the Year by the National Transport Awards judging committee for making a “significant contribution to improved air quality and reduced emissions in our towns and cities” with its electric buses.

In addition, the firm has also been shortlisted in two categories at public-private partnership LowCVP’s (Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership) annual awards, including ‘Heavy Duty Vehicle Manufacturer of the Year’.

LowCVP has also shortlisted Optare, in partnership with bus operator First Group and the City of York council, in its Low Carbon Vehicle Operator of the Year category.

According to Optare, 88 of its electric buses — which have zero-tailpipe emissions — are currently in operation in the UK and Europe.

Oprate chief executive, Enrico Vassallo, said: “I am delighted that our electric bus technology has been recognized and shortlisted for more prestigious industry awards. This is testament to our continued development and promotion of the uptake of electric vehicles. Optare is committed to working alongside the, DfT (Department for Transport), SMMT, TfL (Transport for London), LowCVP, operators and local authorities to ensure sustained successful operation of these vehicles.”

Essex firm secures air quality analyser deal

Essex-based firm We Care 4 Air has been selected by meteorological equipment manufacturer and supplier Casella as the official spare parts manufacturer for its range of air quality analysers.

Under the deal, air quality monitoring firm We Care 4 Air will provide spare parts for the following Casella equipment: CM2010 Ozone Analyser; CM2030 Carbon Dioxide Analyser; CM2041 Nitrogen Oxides Analyser; CM2050 Sulphur Dioxide Analyser; ML8800, and; the ML9800.

Production of the spare parts will take place at We Care 4 Air’s headquarters near Stansted Airport under the supervision of the firm’s technical manager David Mackay, who has previously managed production of Casella’s analysers.

In addition, the company is launching its e-commerce website to allow global customers to purchase spare parts and consumables for all air quality analyser types online.

Vanessa Ambler, managing director of We Care for Air, said: “We are delighted with the announcement from Casella. As a young company we have had an amazing start and following on from our accreditation by CHAS, ISO9001 and ISO14001 this news confirms what we said from the outset — that with hard work and dedication to customer service we have successfully built a company to be trusted and respected.”

Ion Science launches handheld VOC monitor

Ion Science has launched a streamlined, low-cost version of its Tiger PID handheld VOC (volatile organic compound) monitor, which it claims is “ideal for conducting environmental surveys”.

Ion Science's Tiger Lite VOC analyser

Ion Science’s Tiger Lite VOC analyser

According to the company, the entry-level photoionisation detector (PID) offers worldwide Intrinsic Safety certification “for use in potentially explosive atmospheres” and uses a three-electrode format to ensure increased resistance to humidity and contamination.

The detector has a range of 0.1-5,000 parts per million with a response time of two seconds, along with an integrated torch for dimly-lit areas and a battery life allowing up to 24 hours usage.

Duncan Johns, managing director of Ion Science, said: “The launch of an entry-level version of our popular Tiger instrument is another example of Ion Science responding to the demands of its global customer base. Although the Tiger has been streamlined to offer major cost benefits, it still offers an array of industry-beating features to ensure optimum performance.”



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