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International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 317020, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/317020
Research Article

Continuous Remote Monitoring in Hazardous Sites Using Sensor Technologies

1University of Florence and The MIDRA Consortium, 50139 Florence, Italy
2Health, Safety, Environment and Quality Department, Eni S.p.A., 00144 Rome, Italy
3Netsens s.r.l, Sesto Fiorentino, 50019 Florence, Italy

Received 12 March 2012; Revised 14 May 2012; Accepted 18 May 2012

Academic Editor: Chih-Yung Chang

Copyright © 2012 Gianfranco Manes et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The deployment of a distributed point source monitoring system based on wireless sensor networks in an industrial site where dangerous substances are produced, used, and stored is described. Seven essential features, fundamental prerequisites for our estimating emissions method, were identified. The system, consisting of a wireless sensor network (WSN) using photoionisation detectors (PIDs), continuously monitors the volatile organic compound (VOC) concentration at a petrochemical plant on an unprecedented time/space scale. Internet connectivity is provided via TCP/IP over GPRS gateways in real time at a one-minute sampling rate, thus providing plant management and, if necessary, environmental authorities with an unprecedented tool for immediate warning in case critical events happen. The platform is organised into subnetworks, each including a gateway unit wirelessly connected to the WSN nodes. Environmental and process data are forwarded to a remote server and made available to authorized users through a rich user interface that provides data rendering in various formats, in addition to worldwide access to data. Furthermore, this system consists of an easily deployable stand-alone infrastructure with a high degree of scalability and reconfigurability, as well as minimal intrusiveness or obtrusiveness.