All Posts By

Edward Willmott

Why accurate reporting is key to tackling global air quality

By | News

With startling insight from the University of Innsbruck reporting that real-world VOC pollution levels are higher than previously believed, Steve Billingham, CEO of Duvas Technologies, discusses what this means for global air quality.

It seems that barely a week goes by without damning news concerning poor air quality. From California to Nepal, smog, haze and pollutants in the atmosphere are damaging human health. But, according to a new academic study from Austria, levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are even higher than previously believed.

The study, undertaken by researchers at the University of Innsbruck and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), has revealed the world’s first fingerprint of urban emission VOC sources. The research team examined emissions from transport, solvents and smoking, identifying benzene and toluene gas compounds within the list of most prevalent toxic solvents.

While a significant breakthrough in terms of air quality understanding, the study also revealed that VOC levels are much higher than previously believed. The impact should not be under-estimated. VOCs – key compounds in the makeup of smog – have highly negative implications to public health.

As with any toxin, health effects vary depending on exposure level and duration. While short-term exposure can lead to headaches, visual problems, fatigue and respiratory tract irritation, long-term exposure (even in small concentrations) can cause liver, kidney and central nervous system damage.

Yet, according to the World Health Organization, 92% of the world’s population live in places where air quality guidelines levels are not met. More shocking still when we consider proven links to more than three million premature deaths worldwide in 2012.*

Air quality must clearly rise further up the global priority list but, moreso, accurate monitoring and reporting. If we fail to understand the true magnitude, implementing solutions to minimise impacts will be unachievable.

Fortunately, there have been major advances in the development of air quality monitoring technology – in particular, when it comes to the accurate detection and reporting of VOCs. Alongside proven photoionization detection and gas chromatography technology, advances in UV Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (UV-DOAS) are delivering new levels of precision and flexibility.

Next-generation monitoring solutions, such as the Duvas DV3000, can quickly and clearly analyse gas type and concentration to within parts per billion (ppb) levels. The system is already being used by companies across the petrochemicals industry to deliver fast, accurate, real-time benzene data. However, with the capability of monitoring for up to 13 additional species, its application can play a far wider part in the global air quality market.

Until we unify global legislation, potentially learning from best practice examples from forward-thinking areas such as California, which – as the most polluted State in the USA – is the only place to properly legislate against benzene (and other VOC) emissions, we will have to rely on dated processes to ensure that pollutant levels do not exceed dangerous levels.

The University of Innsbruck’s insight is undoubtedly game-changing. What’s more, our poor understanding of true global VOC levels is hugely worrying. Real-time, geographically-specific data is therefore critical to future progress and legislative change – and technology will play a critical part.

 

Duvas goes stateside with USA partnership agreement

By | News

Leading air quality monitoring specialist, Duvas Technologies, has announced an international partnership agreement with Nanova Environmental Inc. The deal will see Nanova provide sales, technical consultation and customer support on behalf of Duvas across Northern America.

Aiming to capitalise on the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s (SCAQMD) Proposed Amended Rule (PAR) 1180, which requires petroleum refineries to invest in community air monitoring programmes, the agreement will improve global access to multi-species gas analysis equipment.

Working in close partnership with Nanova to raise awareness of Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS) technology, having an active presence in the USA will help Duvas address increasing demand for its mobile gas monitoring system – the DV3000. Capable of identifying multiple species, in real-time, at parts per billion (PPB) levels, the innovative technology is already helping businesses across the world understand their environmental impact.

Steve Billingham, CEO of Duvas Technologies, commented: “With air quality rising up the global legislation agenda, adopting future-proof monitoring solutions is becoming a key priority for petrochemical professionals worldwide.

“With California currently leading the way, we predict that China, Europe and other nations will quickly follow suit. Being ahead of the curve with proprietary, real-time technology puts Duvas in an enviable position. Partnering with Nanova Environmental Inc will further increase our global presence, pushing the boundaries of air quality understanding across the USA.”

As part of the agreement, Nanova will showcase the DV3000 at this year’s Pittcon Show (booth 2060). One of the world’s leading conferences on applied spectroscopy, the exhibition, which takes place between 26 February – 1 March at the Orange County Convention Centre in Florida, will see thousands of delegates join together to share the latest developments in laboratory science.

Links to leukaemia demonstrates dangers of benzene

By | News

A new study has confirmed the link between exposure of expectant mothers to benzene at work and increased risk leukaemia among their children. In his latest article for Industrial Compliance, Steve Billingham, our CEO, explains why this should provide yet more motivation for businesses to improve monitoring of benzene concentration levels. 

Read the article HERE.

Read all about it!

By | News

In this month’s (January) edition of Petro Industry News, our CEO, Steve Billingham, delivers a comprehensive introduction to benzene, discussing the negative health implications caused by over-exposure and explaining how accurate monitoring is essential to minimise unnecessary human contact.

To read the full article, click HERE.

 

 

 

Benzene – the hidden killer

By | News

According to statistics from The Department of Health and Human Services (USA), more than 238,000 people are occupationally exposed to benzene every day. High levels of the chemical have been found in 1,000 of the 1,684 most serious hazardous waste sites in the USA, while traces have also been identified in car exhausts, tobacco smoke and household detergents.*

Though considered safe in the smallest concentrations, the chemical is a proven carcinogen, closely linked to chronic leukaemia in cases of over-exposure. What’s more, research has found benzene highly-poisonous to body systems such as bone marrow, the liver and bloodstream.

In the latest edition of Envirotec Magazine, our CEO, Steve Billingham, offers an introduction to benzene, including the negative health impacts of over-exposure and how accurate monitoring is essential to minimise unnecessary human contact.

 

Read the full article here – www.envirotecmagazine.com/2017/11/20/benzene-the-hidden-killer/

 

Duvas presents latest developments in benzene detection at PEFTEC 2017

By | News

Leading air quality monitoring specialist, Duvas Technologies, will explore the latest developments in benzene detection at this month’s Petroleum, Refining, Environmental Monitoring Technologies Conference (PEFTEC) 2017.

Taking place in Antwerp, Belgium, between 29-30 November, the specialist trade exhibition is aimed at industry leaders from across the petrochemical and refining industries. PEFTEC 2017 will bring together more than 250 businesses for two days of conference, round-table discussions and product demonstrations.

Tayyaba Rizvi, a Senior Applications Engineer at Duvas, will deliver a comprehensive introduction to benzene, as well as exploring the negative health implications that can be caused by over-exposure. Rizvi will also review the latest advancements in benzene monitoring technology, outlining why accurate readings are essential in minimising unnecessary contact with this potentially lethal substance.

Benzene is a carcinogen, with over-exposure to the chemical closely linked to cases of chronic leukaemia. Traces of benzene have been found in everything from car exhausts and tobacco smoke to some household detergents.

Duvas is at the forefront of developing innovative solutions to benzene level monitoring. Technology developed by Duvas is able to give a fast and accurate air quality reading, within the parts per billion (ppb) range, with recent progress including the launch of a portable solution capable of undertaking fenceline reports.

Speaking of Duvas’ involvement with PEFTEC 2017, Steve Billingham, CEO of Duvas Technologies, commented: “PEFTEC is a key event in the global petrochemicals industry, so it’s a great honour to be speaking at this year’s exhibition.

“We’re looking forward to showcasing our latest advancements in benzene monitoring, alongside discussing the potential health implications of over-exposure with an engaged and targeted audience.”

Duvas Technologies relocates global headquarters

By | News

World-leading air quality monitoring specialist, Duvas Technologies, has announced the relocation of its global headquarters. The move, which positions the business for further growth, will see operations move from its existing site in Woking, to a recently-acquired facility in Banbury, Oxfordshire.

The state-of-the-art development features purpose-built areas for R&D and manufacturing, while an increase in site footprint will provide sufficient space for sales, software development, analysis and testing departments. Excellent infrastructure links will help to further expand international operations, while a close proximity to numerous universities will strengthen the company’s academic links.

Steve Billingham, CEO of Duvas, commented: “Relocating to our new site in Banbury is an important milestone in the Duvas growth journey.

“One of our long-standing goals for the business is to not only develop the talent we have in-house, but also further expand our team over time. We think this new facility is a fantastic base to achieve this!”