DTI award for emissions expertise

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has secured DTI funding which will enable it to develop its expertise in emission detection and monitoring.


The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has secured DTI funding which will enable it to develop its expertise in emission detection and monitoring, and expand into evolving markets where increased legislation has led to the need for extra environmental monitoring.



The Teddington-based facility was awarded £430,000 in the third round of the Public Sector Research Exploitation (PSRE), announced last week. It was one of 29 innovative UK projects that won funding totalling £25m to convert research into commercial success.



Dr Melanie Williams, group leader of Environmental Measurement at NPL explained how the funding will have a two-fold effect. ‘Part of it is business development and part is extending our capability into where new areas will herald new requirements for landfill monitoring and security monitoring.’



This will mean upgrading NPL’s DIAL facility (differential absorption by LIDAR) for use in emerging markets. DIAL is a mobile, laser-based technique that fires a beam of UV, visible or infrared radiation to measure gas concentrations across a wide area rather than the conventional technique of taking samples at a single point.



NPL’s existing monitoring markets are stack emission monitoring in refineries and power stations; ambient air quality surveys and air quality networks. This will extend in the future to the monitoring of nanoparticles — an area in which there are no regulatory requirements.



‘Essentially we do a lot of research on particulate measurements,’ said Williams. ‘And we will be extending to on-site measurements of nanoparticles from manufacturing facilities analysing the size, range and number of particles.’



Williams said the funding has been earmarked for a two to three year plan to develop ongoing techniques to new markets, such as pharmaceuticals, and to expand the business.


Other winners to benefit from this round of funding include Birmingham’s Forensic Science Service (£450,000) which will develop a commercial DNA database package for police and governments to store, search and match forensic profiles, and the Tate (£421,655) to develop sealed picture frames to protect priceless works of art from being damaged by light.