Getting Ready to Fight the Climate Change with MIREGAS
Vaisala, together with Technical Research Centre of Finland VTT Ltd and their European partners, is developing revolutionary LED-based technology for gas sensing: MIREGAS – Mid-IR Source for Gas Sensing. The new Mid-IR multi-gas product aims to be the world’s fastest and most accurate to detect and analyze greenhouse gases with a single sensor.
MIREGAS project aims to develop a novel Mid-IR light source that can be used for spectroscopic gas analysis. The multinational MIREGAS project group is creating an adjustable device that uses only one light source, as opposed to several lasers. The light source utilizes technology that was originally developed for optical communications applications. Compared to conventional gas sensor technologies, the concept provides better accuracy at a lower price.
Multisensing Fast and Affordable
The MIREGAS device can make multiple measurements with one tunable and switchable multichannel optical filter and pick out individual gases from a mixture of emissions, including methane, ethane, butane, propane, CO2, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide and benzene. It has the potential to detect numerous gases simultaneously, making it very applicable in both industrial process and environmental monitoring.
The project will fill a gap in the market, as affordable sources with comparable performance are not available. Conventional gas sensors can cost several tens of thousands of euros. Products based on MIREGAS technology will be less expensive with the light source having the potential to reach manufacturing cost in the range of only some hundreds of euros per unit.
Fighting the Megatrends
Some possibilities for future applications are for example safety-related gas measurements; when extremely low concentrations of greenhouse gases are monitored in processes quickly and accurately, the process can be optimized and adjusted swiftly. This leads to reduced emissions. Similarly, possible gas leaks can be detected immediately in the initial phase. Yet another possible application could be high voltage asset condition monitoring.
With the new MIREGAS technology, Vaisala could offer even more means to fight for energy and resource efficiency, against urbanization’s effects, and possibly even against climate change. As the technology leader in environmental and industrial measurement, Vaisala aims to commence product research and development project with MIREGAS in 2019–2020.
“We expect the technologies developed within the consortium will enable us to reach a new level of selectivity and accuracy in multi-gas measurements at competitive price levels. This would open new business opportunities and still strengthen our technological position in providing gas measurements for demanding applications,” says Senior Research Scientist Sami Virtanen from Vaisala.
Working Together for Horizon 2020
The MIREGAS-project is a three-year project and will be completed during 2018. In 2017, the project advanced promisingly. The team overcame one of the biggest technological challenges already, which was the LED light source development work done in Tampere.
The project is part of the biggest EU research and innovation program ever: Horizon 2020 (H2020). With the objective to drive economic growth, Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness.
MIREGAS has brought together world-leading European institutes and multinational companies. The scientist consortium is composed of seven partners: Vaisala, AirOptic, Vigo, GasSecure, Tampere University of Technology, ITME and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The partners represent the complete value chain from devices and components to gas sensor manufacturers. The Optoelectronics Research Centre at the Tampere University of Technology in Finland will be responsible for developing innovative superluminescent LED technology, and ITME (PL) will develop moldable Mid-IR lenses. As the industrial partner, Vaisala (FI) together with AirOptic (PL), GasSecure (NO) and VIGO (PL), brings its competences in the areas of gas sensing and Mid-IR sensor fabrication, at the same time validating the technologies developed by the consortium.
The MIREGAS Project
|Use of infrared absorption measurement principle in gas sensing at 2.7 … 3.5 µm wavelength band with up to 100 nm range; Obtain at least 10 times better signal to noise ratio compared to thermal emitters when using a Super luminescent Light Emitting Diode (SLED) emitter.|
|Achieving specificity and “re-programmability” of response for different types of target gases by utilizing a novel filtering technique based on the use of a Si Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC).|
|Spectral resolution 10 times better compared to conventional filters used currently in gas sensors. Capability for fine tuning the filtering response up to 1 nm resolution, allowing for probing single absorption lines.|
|Manufacturing costs less than 300€/unit (with 5,000 units/year for an example product) when utilizing advanced integration and automated assembling technologies and molded Mid-IR optics. Possibility to upscale production and reduce unit cost.|
The MIREGAS source is a programmable, multi-wavelength, Mid-IR source for Mid-IR gas sensor applications in 2.7 µm to 3.5 µm wavelength range.
In the MIREGAS concept, the optical measurement bands are selected with a Si PIC filter from the emission spectra of a wide-band (100nm) SLED light source.
The PIC filter includes filtering function to select spectral bands, switching or modulating function to switch required band(s) to the output or to modulate the selected output, and tuning function to wavelength-tune the selected outputs.