Distributed detection of hydrogen leaks: Risk control
Company: B-SENS is a spin-off of the University of Mons and Materia Nova founded in 2016 by 3 associates with complementary profiles in chemistry, material science and photonics: Ph.D. D. Lahem, Ph.D. Ir Marc Debliquy and Ph.D. Ir Christophe Caucheteur. B-SENS develops and provides advanced sensor solutions based on two complementary technologies: optical fibers that bring distributed measurements and semiconductors developed as connected objects. These solutions meet the needs of temperature measurement, mechanical deformation, and environmental metrology.
Problem: B-SENS collaborates with Materia Nova for the functionalization of sensors with sensitive layers specifically developed for the target application. The most striking example is the realization of a hydrogen sensor based on Bragg gratings embedded in a catalytic sensitive layer. In the presence of hydrogen in the air, this layer triggers an exothermic reaction which induces a wavelength shift in the spectrum of the Bragg grating.
CRA action: In collaboration with UMONS, Materia Nova has been developing for the past 20 years sensitive materials for the detection of various toxic and flammable gases.
The photonics activities of UMONS combined with the materials development of Materia Nova have made it possible to develop the fiber optic sensor for the distributed detection of hydrogen. The sensitive layer developed by Materia Nova is based on a metal oxide doped with a noble metal allowing the catalytic oxidation of the hydrogen molecule. The catalytic material has been prepared, optimized, and deposited on the optical fiber. This invention is patented (Gas Sensor UK0707303.4) and appears to be very relevant in the current context where the demand for hydrogen is growing.
Industrial benefits: The close collaboration with Materia Nova in the development and characterization of the sensitive layer allows B-SENS to have a quality material to be coated on its fiber optic sensors. B-SENS can then provide a complete and prototyped solution to its customers for the measurement of low concentrations of hydrogen in the air. This solution is therefore particularly suitable for hydrogen leaks monitoring along production, transport, or storage sites. Two pilot studies have been performed so far and they promise a bright future for this emerging technology.
Materia Nova is a multidisciplinary research center active in the modeling, synthesis, and characterization of high-technology materials, from the fundamental aspects to their application in devices.
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