Sensors (Basel). 2022 May 3;22(9):3480. doi: 10.3390/s22093480.
Experimental fenceline sensor pods (SPods) fitted with 30 s duration canister grab sampling (CGS) systems were deployed at a site near chemical facilities in Louisville, KY, from 4 June 2018 to 5 January 2020. The objective of the study was to better understand lower cost 10.6 eV photoionization detector (PID)-based volatile organic compound (VOC) sensors and investigate their utility for near-source emissions detection applications. Prototype SPods containing PID sensor elements from two different manufacturers yielded between 78% and 86% valid data over the study, producing a dataset of over 120,000 collocated pair fenceline measurements averaged into 5-min datapoints. Ten-second time-resolved SPod data from an elevated fenceline sensor signal day are presented, illustrating source emission detections from the direction of a facility 500 m west of the monitoring site. An SPod-triggered CGS acquired in the emission plume on this day contained elevated concentrations of 1,3-butadiene and cyclohexane (36 parts per billion by volume (ppbv) and 637 ppbv, respectively), compounds known to be emitted by this facility. Elevated concentrations of these compounds were observed in a subset of the 61 manual and triggered CGS grab samples acquired during the study, with winds from the west. Using novel wind-resolved visualization and normalization approaches described herein, the collocated pair SPod datasets exhibited similarity in emission source signature. With winds from the west, approximately 50% of SPod readings were above our defined theoretical detection limit indicating persistent measurable VOC signal at this site. Overall, this 19-month study demonstrated reasonable prototype SPod operational performance indicating that improved commercial forms of lower cost PID sensors could be useful for select VOC fenceline monitoring applications.