CTA GOT X-RAY GUN FOR CONTAMINATION DETECTION
THIS TECHNOLOGY ALLOWS TO VERIFY IF THE INCINERABLE BIOMASS USED FOR HEATING OR INDUSTRIAL BOILERS CONTAINS SOME KIND OF TOXIC MATERIAL.
June 09, 2017
An X-ray gun acquired by the Technological Center for the Poplar (CTA) allows detecting toxic metals in different combustion materials, in order to contribute to avoid eventual air pollution.
The device will provide services to various companies with the purpose of certifying the quality and safety of raw materials that are used for incineration, as explained by the academic from the CTA, Ricardo Baettig. At the same time, he indicated that the instrument works with an X-ray fluorescence technique, through which it collects the composition of chemical elements present in the samples measured in a period of only 30 seconds. Baettig also highlighted the ease to transport the equipment – it is portable -- in order to determine if there are any harmful elements in the material to be analyzed, with the particularity that the samples do not require previous preparation.
"For example, if you measure a wood roller, you will immediately get a not-normal composition, where you find chromium, copper and arsenic, which are the elements that are used to impregnate this product. In addition, if you are looking for wood to be used as combustion, but it shows abnormal chemical composition, it could be detected if the sample is contaminated or not, thus avoiding a serious pollution process," said the academic.
In Chile, it is forbidden to burn firewood treated with chemicals, which have to be sent to landfills. "Eventually, when there is suspicion of the use of not-appropriate wood, this can be confirmed with the gun, preventing unsafe biomass to enter commercial circuits, which would be very harmful to the air and the health of Mauleans", said Baettig.
This technology was acquired as part of the Regional Competitiveness Innovation Fund (FIC-R) project called "Innovation in Densified Solid Biofuels of Agricultural Origin for Urban and Industrial Residential Consumers". It cost more than 20 million pesos (US$ 30,000, approx.), and it can also be used to measure contamination in the soils or sediments of the water channels. In this way, it is possible to identify, rapidly, if there exist practices that harm the environment. Another of the advantages mentioned by the researcher is the possibility of replacing current procedures that are more expensive and require more time."
"The use of this equipment is an alternative to the traditional methods of studies on pollution, which are more complex to set up and it serves as the first measurement," said Ricardo Baettig.
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