Ammonia (NH3)

Appropriate and effective sensing is critical to Ammonia/Urea operations for process safety as well as worker health and safety. Speed and certainty of detection are vital for process control and timely mitigation of accidental release.  IDLH limits are effortlessly monitored using either UV-DOAS (Ultraviolet Differential Optical Adsorption Spectrometer) or TDL (Tunable Diode Laser) technologies. TAS has designed, installed and continues to maintain over eight open path ammonia detection installations with over four paths each. Understanding a sensor’s characteristics is essential in designing and implementing effective systems.

A number of sensor products and systems have been commercially developed for application in industrial environments such as ammonia/urea production.  Legacy sensors such as mass spectrometers and electrochemical detectors tend to have a high cost of ownership due to maintenance and calibration requirements. Optical sensors can be direct replacements for and improvements on these technologies with higher reliability and ease of use. Available optical sensors are based on different technologies, requiring different operational and use considerations.

Ammonia detection using UV-DOAS, TDL, and other emerging technologies continue to challenge the specificity of ammonia detection.  The wavelength used in spectroscopy to isolate the ammonia molecule is very close to water, thus causing false positive readings when looking for very specific levels of ammonia, such as the difference between 1 ppmm and 3 ppmm.

Planning and Implementation

Careful evaluation and planning are key to determining what equipment and methods to consider when applying optical sensing technologies in process and HSE applications. A successful implementation will include identifying the information needed, understanding the measurement and operations environment, determining measurement needs and methods appropriate for the application, and then working closely with manufacturer and engineering support to design, install, and transition equipment into operations with forward-thinking planning for appropriate use and maintenance.

Typical Applications

  • Fenceline Monitoring
  • Health and Safety Monitoring
  • Open Path Monitoring
  • Point Source Monitoring

Typical Industries

  • Industrial Refrigerants
  • Chemical Manufacturing
  • Waste Water Treatment
  • Carbon Fiber Manufacturing
  • Synthetic Fibers Manufacturing
  • Pulp and Paper Mill
  • Fertilizer Manufacturing
  • Metal Treating
  • Rubber Industry