Open air sensor detects multiple gases

Tom Shelley reports on a gas sensing system that is designed to work in the open air

An infra red gas sensing system that can work outdoors and which is particularly suitable for improving environment control within greenhouses and for monitoring polluting gases produced by ships, has developed been developed by a Danfoss spin out called Danfoss IXA. Henrik Gedde Moos, CEO and co-founder of Danfoss IXA, said the sensors can monitor moisture, ammonia, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, nitrous oxide, and sulphur dioxide. Monitoring separate wavelengths using filters and by measuring temperature, the devices can transmit data either wirelessly or by wire. According to CTO and co-founder Jens Møller Jensen, who invented the technology: "Our sensor is able to measure gases in very harsh conditions and this is what makes it stand out from others. Unlike other sensors, which measure gases inside a measurement chamber, our sensor is able to measure gases in the air or exhaust gases. It measures several gases [at once] and is faster and more robust compared to other sensors currently on the market." Because the sensors can measure ammonia, carbon dioxide, moisture and temperature, one particular application area is seen in greenhouse control, where Moos claimed the devices can be used to achieve energy savings of 20 to 30% when applied to the climate control system. This has to optimally open and close ventilation, turn heating and cooling systems on and off and, in some greenhouses, maintain deliberately elevated CO2 levels. The other primary target area is monitoring the NOx and SOx levels in the exhaust from ships, an often neglected, but major, source of atmospheric pollution. Moos also sees the sensors as having potential use in monitoring car exhausts, exhaust stacks in power stations and manufacturing plants, as well as in process control, particularly in the chemical and oil and gas industries, and for fire detection. Moos said: "We are targeting the establishment of strategic cooperation relations with leading players in our focus areas. Danfoss is already a strong player and, with the right cooperation partners in and outside Danfoss, we can make sure that our technology is distributed worldwide as soon as possible. With the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation's financial backing, we have reached an important milestone and have been given the seal of approval for our technology and our development team." The Foundation's financial support came to some €1.5million and development took place in conjunction with the Danish ventilation company SKOV, based in Roslev. The company is presently engaged in setting up strategic cooperation relationships with players in relevant areas. Pointers * Sensors monitor: moisture, ammonia, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, nitrous oxide, sulphur dioxide and temperature * They can sense several different measurands at the same time * They are small and rugged enough to be used in the open air and be mounted on exhaust stacks