Agricultural activities and processes emit greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), as well as ammonia (NH3). While greenhouse gas emissions affect the global climate, ammonia is a toxic pollutant that affects human health and the environment on a regional level, e.g. by threatening biodiversity. The agricultural sector is the highest ammonia emitter and most of the emissions come from fertilizer use, decomposition of biological material and animal excretions. In many regions, the level of ammonia emissions is increasing further, and therefore, there is a general interest in reducing emissions in order to
meet environmental regulations.
Researchers Shaojie Zhuang and Philippe van Overbeke from the Flemish Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO) in Belgium used the Picarro G2508 multi-species gas analyzer when testing for ammonia and greenhouse gas concentration measurements in a dairy and a pig barn. The focus of the study was to determine how several instruments would perform when measuring challenging, high adsorption gases such as ammonia. For this study, parts of the internal sample handling line of the Picarro G2508 were replaced with Teflon instead of stainless-steel, to improve the response time. The upgraded Picarro G2508 showed very good accuracy for ammonia and no evident drift over the two-month field test. The performance of the G2508 for ammonia measurements was compared to an open-path tunable diode laser gas analyzer (OPL) as well as a closed-path quantum cascade laser (QCL), see figures below.