project leader
dbeavers
location
2611 E St Bernard Hwy
(Meraux, LA, a suburb of New Orleans)
latest update rss
Thank you to our donors!

the project

What are the refineries burning in those flares?  How often are the big flares occurring?  How often is black smoke and soot being discharged?  Is it making particles in the air that I breathe?  We will answer these questions by installing equipment to remotely measure refinery flares twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  This project will develop an inexpensive, easy to construct, and reliable observation station to provide usable data in order to answer these questions.

A camera pointed at the flare in combination with a remote sensor that measures the infrared temperature will allow the detection of big flare events and trigger a time stamp.  Thus the events can be detected and documented.  

PublicLab.org developed an inexpensive spectrometer that will be used to attempt to identify the chemicals that are being burned in the flare.  A spectrometer spreads out the light like a rainbow allowing the chemical composition of the flame to be determined.  An inexpensive dust sensor will also be used to see if there is a measurable amount of dust that can be attributed to the flare.  All of this equipment will be controlled by a Raspberry Pi computer connected to the Internet.  The collected data will be posted to a web site so that it will be freely available and can be analysed by the public. 

The first station does not have Internet connectivity so a cell phone hot spot will be necessary.  Subsequent stations should not need this expensive device since DSL or WiFi will likely be available.

the steps

Milestones:

  • Order equipment

  • Integrate cell WiFi, camera and spectrometer

  • Deploy to station #1

  • Integrate IR and dust sensors into 1st deployment

  • Evaluate system

  • 2nd equipment order

  • Build 2nd integrated sensor package

  • Deploy to station #2

  • Evaluate system

why we're doing it

Do you drive by a refinery and wonder why that big flare is burning?  What would you think if you were startled by what sounds like a jet landing in your yard and then you looked out the window to see a huge flame billowing black smoke?  You would probably have health concerns and wonder how well the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) was doing their job.

Our objective is not to shut down refineries.  We generally find the products they produce useful if not necessary.  We want to make sure the refineries are working in the best interest of the health of the citizens and that DEQ is enforcing the regulations.  The self reporting that the refineries do and the DEQ monitoring process appears to be lacking due to numerous causes.  This project will empower the average citizen to have a say that will be hard to ignore.

budget

 



WiFicell hot spot for year $530
RaspberryPI $35
PIcam $29
Budget Pack for Raspberry Pi (no Raspberry Pi) - ID: 965 $45
USB WiFi $12
Low resolution thermal imaging sensor $38
thermal sensor i/f parts $10
Two spectrometers $80
Particle sensor $16
sensor i/f parts $10
USB powered hub $22
misc. cables $20
power supplies $10
misc. mounting hardware $30
Total $887
2nd site (W/O hot spot) $357
Gasoline for travel $200
Project total $1,444


SUBTOTAL = $1,444
ioby Platform Fee  $35
3rd Party Credit Card Processing Fee (3%) $43
TOTAL TO RAISE = $1,522


RAISED = $298.00
ioby Platform Fee  waived
3rd Party Credit Card Processing Fee (3%) $8.68
TOTAL TO DISBURSE = $289.32

Revised Budget, 5/19/2014




RaspberryPI $35 $35
PIcam $29 $29
Budget Pack for Raspberry Pi (no Raspberry Pi) - ID: 965 $45 $45
USB WIFI $12 $12
Low resolution thermal imaging sensor $38  
thermal sensor i/f parts $10 $10
Two spectrometers $80 $80
Particle sensor $16  
sensor i/f parts $10 $10
USB powered hub $22 $22
misc. cables $20 $11
power supplies $10 $10
misc. mounting hardware $30 $25
Total $887 $289

 

updates

Thank you to our donors!

photos

This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration

donors

  • Matthew P.
  • Randy S.
  • Benjamin C.
  • Sara W.
  • Sara W.
  • Jennifer L P.
  • Gregory A.
  • Kevin R.
  • Jeffrey W.
  • Shannon D.
  • Rebecka C.
  • Patrick C.