Remote Sampling System for EPA Emissions Testing

Photo of Travis Brown, Daniel Cihak, Charles Lien Students: Travis Brown, Daniel Cihak, Charles Lien

Sponsor: El Paso Corporation

Date: Spring 2010

Requirements:
El Paso Corp. gave us three main requirements. First, the system must mount to a variety of stack configurations and support its own weight plus the weight of two sample lines. Stacks vary in diameters up to 12 ft and can be made of many different materials. In addition, stacks can be horizontal or vertical as well having a protruding flange. The mounting system should have a redundant safety harness with the expectation that mounting failure cannot occur. Secondly, the system should move the probe remotely to predetermined locations within the exhaust stack. The system will need to move a probe up to 12 feet and have a feedback system to alert the test engineers where the probe is within the stack. Lastly, the system must actuate a three way valve remotely and provide feedback on the valve's position.

Problem:
Our design team was tasked with designing and constructing a remote sampling system to facilitate and expedite the procedures of testing emissions on natural gas fired engines used to compress and transport natural gas.

Solution:
Our mounting solution employs a "V" Clamp consisting of a V-notch block braced to a sturdy frame with a screw mechanism below to secure to a protruding pipe with 3 contact points. A chain and sprocket system drives the sample probe. laterally back and forth. The system has a retractable boom, which effectively handles the moments caused by loads at 12 feet and can be compacted in just a 4 foot length. A stepper motor drives the chain and sprocket system and provides accurate position feedback.

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