Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy
Since the 1950s, it has been widely known that coal-burning power plants emit dangerous levels of particulate and gaseous pollutants into the atmosphere, including ash, soot, SO2, NO2, and NO. Over the ensuing 70-years, there has been much progress on reducing emissions to ensure cleaner air, particularly in the United States and Europe. For example, the United States passed the Clean Air Act (CAA) in 1963, giving the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to take action to improve air quality and promote public health. But, even though the CAA has been modified several times (1970, 1977, 1982, and 1990) to expand the EPA’s power, according to a 2013 study conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), air pollution is still responsible for roughly 200,000 deaths each year in the United States alone . As the developing world has continued to industrialize in its transition into modernity, the demand for energy is skyrocketing, particularly in places like China and India. While cleaner technologies are meeting some of the worldwide markets, roughly 40% of the electricity generated around the world is from coal-burning power plants; in countries such as China and India, this is as high as 70 to 75% . As a result, environmental monitoring systems are just as relevant today as they have ever been.