October 29, 2008 Governments could be able to more easily and cheaply monitor greenhouse gas emissions thanks to a miniature gas sensor being developed by a new European consortium, led by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The sensor would also have applications for consumers by improving air conditioning in buildings.
The €2.8 million MINIGAS project is being funded by the European Union in order to develop a tiny, super-sensitive and cost effective gas sensor. The aim is to create a 2cm-long (less than one inch) device that is at least twice as sensitive as current sensors of that size. The project brings together VTT with Gasera, which will provide the core photo-acoustic gas sensing technology. The Loffe Institute in Russia is providing LED technology, while two multinational companies will assist is taking the product to market.
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“High-sensitivity gas sensors could play a key role in monitoring the presence of pollutants in the environment, but need to be smaller, cheaper and more effective,” saud Ismo Kauppinen, Gasera CEO.
In addition to greenhouse gases, the MINIGAS sensor will be able to detect explosives vapors and chemical agents such as nerve gases. By integrating the sensor into homeland security systems, governments would be able to improve national security through the early detection of chemical attacks.