Advertisement

Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 13, pp 13195–13202 | Cite as

Adaption and use of a quadcopter for targeted sampling of gaseous mercury in the atmosphere

  • Oscar Black
  • Jingjing Chen
  • Austin Scircle
  • Ying Zhou
  • James V. Cizdziel
Short Research and Discussion Article

Abstract

We modified a popular and inexpensive quadcopter to collect gaseous mercury (Hg) on gold-coated quartz cartridges, and analyzed the traps using cold vapor atomic fluorescence spectrometry. Flight times averaged 16 min, limited by battery life, and yielded > 5 pg of Hg, well above the limit of detection (< 0.2 pg). We measured progressively higher concentrations upon both vertical and lateral approaches to a dish containing elemental Hg, demonstrating that the method can detect Hg emissions from a point source. Using the quadcopter, we measured atmospheric Hg near anthropogenic emission sources in the mid-south USA, including a municipal landfill, coal-fired power plant (CFPP), and a petroleum refinery. Average concentrations (± standard deviation) immediately downwind of the landfill were higher at ground level and 30 m compared to 60 and 120 m (5.3 ± 0.5 ng m−3, 5.4 ± 0.7 ng m−3, 4.2 ± 0.7 ng m−3, and 2.5 ± 0.3 ng m−3, respectively). Concentrations were also higher at an urban/industrial area (Memphis) (3.3 ± 0.9 ng m−3) compared with a rural/background area (1.5 ± 0.2 ng m−3). Due to airspace flight restrictions near the CFPP and refinery, we were unable to access near-field (stack) plumes and did not observe differences between upwind and downwind locations. Overall, this study demonstrates that highly maneuverable multicopters can be used to probe Hg concentrations aloft, which may be particularly useful for evaluating Hg emissions from remote landscapes and transient sources that are inadequately characterized and leading to uncertainties in ecosystem budgets.

Keywords

Atmospheric mercury Landfill Unmanned aerial vehicle Multicopter Coal-fired power plant Petroleum refinery Cold vapor atomic fluorescence spectrometry 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Tekran Inc. and Brooks Rand Instruments for helpful advice and technical support, and several anonymous landowners for allowing us to sample from their private property. We thank Ms. Hailey Stewart for helping in the field and SKC Inc. for providing us sampling pumps for preliminary work.

References

  1. Chang CC, Wang JL, Chang CY, Liang MC, Lin MR (2016) Development of a multicopter-carried whole air sampling apparatus and its applications in environmental studies. Chemosphere 144:484–492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cordy P, Veiga MM, Salih I et al (2011) Mercury contamination from artisanal gold mining in Antioquia, Colombia: the worlds highest per capita mercury pollution. Sci Total Environ 410:154–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Corrigan CE, Roberts GC, Ramana MV, Kim D, Ramanathan V (2008) Capturing vertical profiles of aerosols and black carbon over the Indian Ocean using autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles. Atmos Chem Phys Discuss 7(4):737–747CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Deeds DA, Banic CM, Lu J, Daggupaty SJ (2013) Mercury speciation in a coal-fired power plant plume: an aircraft-based study of emissions from the 3640 MW Nanticoke Generating Station, Ontario, Canada. Geophys Res Atmos 118:1–17Google Scholar
  5. Diaz PV, Yoon S (2018) High-fidelity computational aerodynamics of multi-rotor unmanned aerial vehicles. AIAA SciTech Forum, Areospace Sciences Meeting, KissimmeeGoogle Scholar
  6. Edgerton ES, Hartsell BE, Jansen JJ (2006) Mercury speciation in coal-fired power plant plumes observed at three surface sites in the southeastern U.S. Environ Sci Technol 40:4563–4570CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Friedli HR, Arellano AF, Cinnirella S, Pirrone N (2009) Initial estimates of mercury emissions to the atmosphere from global biomass burning. Environ Sci Technol 43:3507–3513CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gustin MS (2011) Exchange of mercury between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems. Environmental chemistry and toxicology of mercury. John Wiley and Sons, New York, pp 423–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gustin MS, Evers DC, Bank MS et al (2016) Importance of integration and implementation of emerging and future mercury research into the Minamata Convention. Environ Sci Technol 50(6):2767–2770CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Holmes CD, Jacob DJ, Corbitt ES, Mao J, Yang X, Talbot R, Slemr F (2010) Global atmospheric model for mercury including oxidation by bromine atoms. Atmos Chem Phys 10(24):12037–12057CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Huber ML, Laesecke A, Friend DG (2006) The vapor pressure of mercury. National Institute of Science and Technology NISTIR 6643, Brahmapur, p 17Google Scholar
  12. Jiang Y, Cizdziel JV, Lu D (2013) Temporal patterns of atmospheric mercury species in northern Mississippi during 2011–2012: influence of sudden population swings. Chemosphere 93(9):1694–1700CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Keeler G, Glinsorn G, Pirrone N (1995) Particulate mercury in the atmosphere: its significance, transport, transformation and sources. Water Air Soil Pollut 80(1–4):159–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kim KH, Kim MY (2002) Mercury emissions as landfill gas from a large-scale abandoned landfill site in Seoul. Atmos Environ 36:4919–4928CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kim KH, Yoon HO, Brown RJ, Jeon EC, Sohn JR, Jung K (2013) Simultaneous monitoring of total gaseous mercury at four urban monitoring stations in Seoul, Korea. Atmos Res 132–133:199–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Krabbenhoft DP, Sunderland EM (2013) Global change and mercury. Science 341:1457–1458CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lan X, Talbot R, Laine P, Torres A, Lefer B, Flynn J (2015) Atmospheric mercury in the Barnett Shale Area, Texas: implications for emissions from oil and gas processing. Environ Sci Technol 49(17):10692–10700CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Landis MS, Ryan JV, Schure AF, Laudal D (2014) Behavior of mercury emissions from a commercial coal-fired power plant: the relationship between stack speciation and near-field plume measurements. Environ Sci Technol 48:13540–13548CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lindberg SE, Southworth G, Prestbo EM, Wallschläger D, Bogle MA, Price J (2005) Gaseous methyl- and inorganic mercury in landfill gas from landfills in Florida, Minnesota, Delaware, and California. Atmos Environ 39(2):249–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Liu B, Keller GJ, Dvonch JT, Barres JA, Lynam MM, Marsik FJ, Morgan JT (2010) Temporal variability of mercury speciation in urban air. Atmos Environ 44:2013–2023CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lyman SN, Jaffe DA (2012) Formation and fate of oxidized mercury in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. Nat Geosci 5:114–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lyman SN, Gustin MS, Prestbo EM, Marsik FJ (2007) Estimation of dry deposition of atmospheric mercury in Nevada by direct and indirect methods. Environ Sci Technol 41(6):1970–1976CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mason RP, Reinfelder JR, Morel FMM (1995) Bioaccumulation of mercury and methylmercury. Water Air Soil Pollut 80:915–921CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. McGonigle AJS, Aiuppa A, Giudice G, et al (2008) Unmanned aerial vehicle measurements of volcanic carbon dioxide fluxes. Geophys Res Lett 35(6)Google Scholar
  25. McLagan D, Mitchell C, Huang H, Lei Y, Cole A, Steffen A, Hung H, Wania F (2016) A high-precision passive air sampler for gaseous mercury. Environ Sci Technol Lett 3:24–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pirrone N, Cinnirella S, Feng X, Finkelman RB, Friedli HR, Leaner J, Mason R, Mukherjee AB, Stracher GB, Streets DG, Telmer K (2010) Global mercury emissions to the atmosphere from anthropogenic and natural sources. Atmos Chem Phys 10(13):5951–5964CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rossi M, Brunelli, D, Adami A, Lorenzelli L, Menna F, Remondino F (2014) Gas-drone: portable gas sensing system on UAVs for gas leakage localization. Sensors 1431–1434Google Scholar
  28. Schroeder WH, Munthe J (1998) Atmospheric mercury—an overview. Atmos Environ 32(5):809–822CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Seigneur C, Vijayaraghavan K, Lohman K, Karamchandani P, Scott C (2004) Global source attribution for mercury deposition in the United States. Environ Sci Technol 38(2):555–569CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Selin NE (2009) Global biogeochemical cycling of mercury: a review. Annu Rev Environ Resour 34:43–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Slemr F, Ebinghaus R, Brenninkmeijer CAM, Hermann M, Kock HH, Martinsson BG, Schuck T, Sprung D, van Velthoven P, Zahn A, Ziereis H (2009) Gaseous mercury distribution in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere observed onboard the CARIBIC passenger aircraft. Atmos Chem Phys 9(6):1957–1969CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Tao Z, Liu Y, Zhou M, Chai X (2017) Exchange pattern of gaseous elemental mercury in landfill: mercury deposition under vegetation coverage and interactive effects of multiple meteorological conditions. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24:26586–26593CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. United Nations Environment Programme (2013) Technical background report for the global mercury assessment 2013. AMAP, OsloGoogle Scholar
  34. USEPA United States Environmental Protection Agency (1999) Compendium method IO-5, sampling and analysis for vapor and particle phase in ambient air utilizing cold vapor atomic fluorescence spectrometry (CVAFS). EPA/625/R-96/010aGoogle Scholar
  35. USEPA United States Environmental Protection Agency (2010) Toxic release inventory. <http://www.epa.gov/tri/>
  36. Weiss-Penzias P, Jaffe DA, McClintick A, Prestbo EM, Landis MS (2003) Gaseous elemental mercury in the marine boundary layer: evidence for rapid removal in anthropogenic pollution. Environ Sci Technol 37(17):3755–3763CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Yoon S, Diaz PV, Boyd Jr DD, Chan WM, Theodore CR (2017) Computational aerodynamic modeling of small quadcopter vehicles. American Helicopter Society (AHS) 73rd Annual Forum, Fort Worth, TexasGoogle Scholar
  38. Zhu J, Wang T, Talbot RW, Huang X (2012) Characteristics of atmospheric total gaseous mercury (TGM) observed in urban Nanjing, China. Atmos Chem Phys 12(24):12103–12118CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryUniversity of MississippiUniversityUSA
  2. 2.College of Chemical EngineeringZhejiang University of TechnologyHangzhouChina

Personalised recommendations