October 10, 2017
The “IntegroTM LIDAR Network” by ECOTECH is a tried and tested technology for the real-time measurement and monitoring of aerosols and dust particulates, giving its users better use of its dust suppression systems.
Light Detection and Ranging technology (LIDAR) is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the earth. Originally developed by Leosphere, a French company that specialises in atmospheric remote observations, the technology is most commonly used as a meteorological tool for weather applications.
Partnership leads to innovation, filling a gap in the market
In 2013, Mark Brooks, ECOTECH’s Business Manager for Australia and New Zealand approached Leosphere with the idea of merging the two companies’ technologies to create a solution for open path monitoring for aerosols and particulate emissions over long distances (up to 12 km in radius). ECOTECH had received numerous requests from local government authorities and mining companies it serviced to develop a system that would allow customers to effectively measure and monitor dust movement over larger areas well beyond the fence line of a facility.
Fast-forward to 2017 and ECOTECH has successfully designed, installed and operates the Integro LIDAR Network, the only technology in the world that can effectively monitor and measure movement and concentrations (ug/m3) of dust emissions over large areas, providing real-time data accessible online by industry and the public using ECOTECH Airodis™ software.
“This new and innovative application of LIDAR technology by ECOTECH has revolutionised the way government authorities and industry can monitor dust dispersal with a range of up to 12 kilometres from the measurement point, allowing for accurate coverage over a full 24 kilometre diameter range” said Mark.
“Dust can have a major impact on not only the health of the workforce, but the local communities, waterways and its flora and fauna. With its precise measuring and monitoring, the Integro LIDAR Network equip communities, government and industry alike with a powerful tool to advise and help protect people in their natural environment,” he added.
Working with the mining industry and government to safeguard the environment
ECOTECH‘s Integro LIDAR Network has been used by the Australian mining industry and government bodies, including the Western Australia Department of Water & Environmental Regulation (DWER). Following extensive trials of the technology by industry and its regulators since 2014, the DWER commissioned its own campaign in the Town of Port Hedland in 2017. A public website displaying real-time data captured by the Integro LIDAR Network was established by ECOTECH, giving the DWER and the town’s residents the ability to monitor dust emissions in the port area.
Using the Integro LIDAR Network, ECOTECH can pinpoint the exact source of emissions. This level of data granularity means for the first time government authorities can identify the emission sources, whether that is an individual shiploader, conveyor belt, or stockpile.
The Integro LIDAR Network in the news
Earlier this year, The Town of Port Hedland received media attention for its use of ECOTECH’s Integro LIDAR Network, amid plans of the potential expansion of the Port operations. At the time, the expansion application has been temporarily suspended pending an enquiry by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) which seeks to further investigate dust levels generated by iron ore exporters in Port Hedland.
The data collected by the Integro LIDAR Network for the Western Australia Department of Water & Environmental Regulation (DWER) will play a role in any future decisions regarding expansion at the port. The data will also assist mining companies operating at the port to review their dust management and control measures whilst increasing their efficiencies.
Taking the Integro LIDAR Network global
With the Integro LIDAR Network, ECOTECH is pioneering the way government and industries around the world can monitor and track dust emissions. It is also paving the way for preventative outcomes that improve air quality.
Following the success of the Integro LIDAR campaign by the Western Australian DWER, they have now committed to investing in their own Integro Network for similar projects throughout the state in the years to come. ECOTECH is expanding the use of LIDAR technology for dust measurement and control internationally, with a number of government authorities and mining companies evaluating and investing in this technology in China, Taiwan and the United States.