Sales of devices to measure particles in the air exceed $700 million. This is the conclusion reached by the McIlvaine Company in its continuously updated Air & Water Pollution Monitoring World Markets. (www.mcilvainecompany.com)
The market is very fractured. There are many applications and many types of measurement instruments.
|Category||Recent Annual Revenues $ Millions|
|Opacity monitors-stack||150 (optical measurement)|
|Mass monitors-stack||100 with $300 million bubble coming|
|Process gas particulate continuous monitors||40 (measure mass)|
|Broken bag detectors||30 (determine particulate escaping due to broken filter bags)|
|Portable method 5 particulate sampler trains||40 (measure weight by collecting sample)|
|Ambient particulate monitoring stations||50 (measure weight)|
|Cleanroom particulate network systems||60 (count particles)|
|Cleanroom portable particle counters||40 (count particles)|
|Continuous indoor air particulate monitoring||50 (count particles)|
|Printer and other device particulate monitoring||20 (count particles)|
|Portable particulate monitors-indoor air||60 (count particles)|
|Biological viable particulate monitors-portable||50 (capture particles for later culture)|
|Engine test centers (particulate segment)||70 (particulate segment)|
|Total||760 (plus mass CEM surge)|
The biggest segment is a more sophisticated version of the London smoke chart developed over 900 years ago. The smoke inspector determined whether the stack plume was black, some shade of grey or white. The digital version of the device today is the opacity monitor.
Many applications need more accurate measurement. Mass monitors determine the weight of particulate in the gas stream. New U.S. EPA requirements for power plants, cement plants and industrial boilers are requiring mass measurement. This will create a several hundred million dollar surge in sales.
A very clean exhaust gas stream still contains millions of particles. In fact, clean normal ambient air contains about 500,000 particles per cubic foot. Semiconductor cleanrooms must maintain an air quality of less than one particle per cubic foot. There is no mass measurement method that is of sufficient sensitivity. So particle counting is the only option in cleanrooms and indoor work spaces.
There is a great deal of complexity relative to the definitions. The reported measurements are based on particles of a certain size (generally 0.5 to as low as 0.1 micrometers). This means that particles below 100 nanometers are not measured. Generally these small particles are not sufficient in quantity to be considered. However, with nano technology gaining in popularity, there is the potential for the number of nano particles to be significant.
Another problem is the distinction between discrete and total particulate. New EPA and State rules take into account condensible as well as discrete particles and call the aggregate "total particulate." There are challenges in making the measurements and challenges in supplying air pollution control equipment to reduce total particulate to the required levels.
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