Development of an ammonia and carbon dioxide sensor for pig buildings


01 April 2013 - 31 October 2014
Project leader:
Harper Adams University

About this project

To collect and evaluate data for ammonia emission levels within pig sheds. This information is valuable for estimating the environmental impacts and is often required for permitting and planning applications. 

More accurately-quantified ammonia emissions will help producers in obtaining consents and permissions for new buildings and in making investment decisions.

The trial

The ammonia concentration in the inlet and exhaust air was measured on two sites, using the ammonia analyser developed by AHDB Pork in conjunction with other organisations. In addition, the number of pigs, weights, feed intake, protein content of diets, ventilation rates, external and internal temperature and relative humidity were also recorded, as per the internationally recognised VERA protocol standardisation.


The measurement surveys on the university and commercial pig units proved that the multi-channel monitor was suitable in these contexts, without encountering any major faults.

Overall, it was cost-effective when compared to the commercially-available photoacoustic system.

Recommendations include: regular CO2 calibration and installation of water traps outside the unit for operation in cold temperatures.

Future developments could focus on the addition of a sensor for dust detection and, possibly, particle sensors for disease detection.

Further information

Monitoring gases from pig buildings: testing and calibration of an ammonia sensor (phase 1)

Monitoring gases from pig buildings: field development of a multi-channel monitor (phase 2)

Monitoring gases from pig buildings: field evaluation of a multi-channel monitor (phase 3)