Gas Detection

Sensirion strengthens its portfolio by acquiring micro gas-analyser specialist Qmicro

Sensirion has completed the acquisition of Qmicro, an innovative OEM supplier of miniaturised gas-analysis technologies. Qmicro, based in Enschede, The Netherlands, develops, manufactures, and supplies micro gas analysers based on microelectromechanical (MEMS) gas chromatography (GC) technology. Qmicro’s most important application areas include industrial process control as well as natural and biogas characterisation.

With this acquisition, Sensirion expands its gas sensing portfolio from components and modules to stand-alone micro gas analysers for industrial applications. Many industrial applications require high selectivity and accuracy of gas composition measurements. Micro gas-chromatography technology allows to very selectively and accurately determine the constituents of gas mixtures, enabling Sensirion to expand its gas-sensing offering for its customers from components and modules aimed at high-volume applications to micro gas analysers addressing high-end applications.

Qmicro was founded in 2013, has sixteen employees, and offers very compact, easy-to-use micro gas analysers based on its MEMS-GC technology. Combined with Sensirion’s expertise in MEMS, industrialisation, and the development of highly cost-effective sensor solutions even further miniaturisation and integration becomes possible, benefiting both Qmicro’s and Sensirion’s customers.

Mark Kok, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Qmicro

Core applications of Qmicro’s analysers include the determination of the calorific value of natural gas in distribution networks, monitoring the composition of gas mixtures used in industrial processes, and in the future environmental monitoring. Qmicro’s and Sensirion’s end markets partially overlap and partially complement each other. The acquisition allows Sensirion to leverage its global marketing and sales network.

Mark Kok, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Qmicro comments: “We are excited to join forces with Sensirion, which will enable us to more efficiently scale-up our processes and accelerate growth.”

Marc von Waldkirch, CEO of Sensirion

“Sensirion very cordially welcomes all Qmicro employees and looks forward to further developing the Enschede location as a competence centre for micro gas analysers,” says Marc von Waldkirch, CEO of Sensirion.

New ABB emission monitoring solution helps the maritime industry achieve decarbonisation targets

The launch of ABB’s CEMcaptain will help shipping comply with the sulphur emission regulations that were enforced in 2020, and keep in check their CO2 footprint.

In January 2020, the low sulphur and nitrousoxide emission limits in the International Maritime Organisation regulations became effective worldwide. CEMcaptain is a powerful emissions monitoring system from ABB designed to help the maritime industry meet these new regulations and become more sustainable. Its measurement and digital capabilities increase on-board safety, provide process optimisation and substantially reduce ownership costs. By consistently achieving 98 percent and more uptime, the new system not only requires less maintenance effort but also saves time otherwise spent on handling non-compliance issues.

Designed with busy mariners and a regularly changing crew in mind, CEMcaptain is a multi-component analyzer system that continuously provides real-time data offering reliable measurement of emissions with the highest stability. Operating in even the harshest of conditions it integrates analyzer modules and sample handling components in a standalone cabinet, making installation easy.

Equipped with ABB’s renowned Uras26 non-dispersive IR gas analyzer, CEMcaptain simultaneously and continuously measures sulphur dioxide (SO2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) in line with regulation requirements. Each analyzer has two separate gas paths to allow for continuous CO2/SO2 measurement of separate streams, with up to four different components per analyzer module.

“Our solutions are driving the evolution of sustainable shipping, paving the way to a zero-emission marine industry. ABB has more than 60,000 Continuous Emissions Monitoring Systems (CEMS) installed in over 100 countries that help monitor our environment,” said Stephen Gibbons, ABB’s Head of Product Management in Continuous Gas Analyzers. “We draw on 60 years of experience in emissions monitoring to provide this support in concrete terms. CEMcaptain has been combined with innovations in on-site and remote digital services. The result is a solution that provides the industry with a digital toolbox that increases regulatory compliance and operational efficiency.”

Fast fault reporting, diagnosis and repair are achieved via the on-site and remote digital services which help operators get closer to 100 percent availability for their gas analysis instrumentation. Dynamic QR codes are integrated into the ABB CEMcaptain system display panel. All relevant diagnostic information can be collected from the analyzer via a scanned code and transferred to ABB support. This means that maritime instrumentation technicians can send real-time information to an ABB service expert to get immediate guidance on appropriate maintenance. ABB Ability™ Remote Assistance with secured connectivity direct to ABB support is also offered for real-time solutions to problems. These features reduce the costly training of changing crews as well as the number of experts required on board. They also increase on-board safety by reducing crew exposure to emissions.

CEMcaptain GAA610-M is approved by all major classification societies (DNV GL, ABS Group, Lloyds Register, Bureau Veritas, ClassNK, Korean Register).

Chell Instruments welcomes 2021 after 2020 exceeds expectations

Despite an unpredictable 2020, gas measurement and control experts Chell Instruments still achieved their key goals for the year and are now planning for a successful 2021.

Nick Broadly, Chell Instruments

Though the global pandemic caused disruption, the manufacturer has continued to support a growing number of customers and provide precision instrumentation around the world.

“Coronavirus has made 2020 an unusual year! However, despite the challenges, most projects within key industries like F1, energy and even aerospace have continued unabated. I’m proud to say our team has shown exceptional resilience and gone the extra mile to support our clients with the products and expertise they need” says Chell Instrument’s Managing Director, Nick Broadley.

The world-renowned gas measurement and control experts have maintained momentum throughout the year, achieving the targets set for the business. In addition, they have launched a number of new products including an Environmental Flow Test Chamber and a mini pressure scanner with EtherCAT connectivity.

“Even with the challenges, demand looks set to continue to grow in many sectors in 2021. For example, despite the current restrictions on air travel, we’re really excited that our instrumentation is being used in a number of projects working on the electrification of aircraft propulsion” states Nick.

This month also sees Chell Instruments celebrate their first anniversary as part of the SDI Group of scientific and technology manufacturers. The group now owns more than ten companies which produce products for use in imaging, sensing and control applications.

“Being a part of SDI has given us a new thirst for growth and is helping us to invest in the future. We can pool ideas, experience and resources with our sister companies to ensure we continue developing innovative solutions for new and existing customers” Nick continues.

As Chell Instruments export products to countries around the world, they have welcomed the UK’s new trade deal with the EU. “We are pleased the Brexit deal has been agreed. As we sell to Asia and North America, as well as Europe, we have plenty of experience with the custom checks, processes and paperwork necessary. However, the deal means we can go on delivering UK technology to Europe with ease and without extra cost to the customer” concludes Nick.

Established over four decades ago, Chell Instruments produce pressure, vacuum and gas flow measurement and control solutions for use in industries including energy, pharmaceuticals, Formula 1 and aerospace.

The firm’s 2021 plans include continual development of their ultra-compact range of ‘Nano’ pressure measuring devices and a special project to deliver a self-contained mobile testing unit for a leading aircraft engine manufacturer.

To learn more about Chell Instruments visit www.chell.co.uk.

Signal Group announces new senior appointment

The UK based gas analyser manufacturer Signal Group has announced the appointment of Stephane Canadas as Sales and Marketing Manager. “In recent years we have invested heavily in product development, so this is a great time for Stephane to join the company,” comments Signal MD James Clements. “In many respects, our latest products are significantly ahead of other analysers on the market, so Stephane will be focused on expanding our global distribution network and explaining the advantages of these instruments to our rapidly expanding customer base.

“As an electronics engineer with 30 years of experience in instrumentation, working in product management, projects, sales and marketing positions for world leading automation and analytical companies, Stephane has hit the ground running at Signal, and we are delighted to welcome him to the team.”

Stephane says: “With my technical background and a career spent understanding the needs of engineers, I am hugely excited by this opportunity to exploit the impressive features that Signal has designed into its products.

“The new Series IV analysers, with removable screens and the latest communications capabilities, will disrupt the gas analyser market, and the prospect of QAL 1 approval for the Signal FIDs will be of great interest to any organisation with a need to measure VOC emissions.”

Born in France, but having lived most of his life in the UK, Stephane is bilingual and is particularly looking forward to developing Signal’s international operations.

Vaisala wins Finnish Innovation Award with novel biogas measurement instrument

The groundbreaking Vaisala MGP261 biogas instrument has today been announced as a winner in the Finnish Quality Innovation competition, where it won the Circular economy and carbon neutrality innovations category. After being recognised as an outstanding example of innovation in the field of sustainable technologies, the instrument now advances to the finals of the global Quality Innovation Award competition.

“This is a great recognition for a product as revolutionary as the MGP261. The Vaisala CARBOCAP MGP261 Multigas Instrument for Methane, Carbon Dioxide, and Humidity was first introduced in early 2019, with instant benefits for the biogas industry. The Vaisala MGP261 transforms waste into value: The better the entire process is monitored and optimised by reacting to changes in gas composition and humidity, the more efficient the biogas plant becomes. This translates directly into improved profitably for customers and is also good for the planet,” says Vaisala Project Manager Otto Tierto.

A sustainable solution for a greener tomorrow

Industrial and municipal waste and wastewater treatment plants, landfills, and even farms can produce electricity and heat from biowaste by using a combined heat and power engine. But running one profitably means improving the quality of the produced biogas; this has been a tough goal to achieve, until now.

The Vaisala MGP261 is the world’s first in situ three-in-one biogas measurement instrument. It works directly in the biogas stream and is Ex certified up to zone 0.

“We all need to do everything we can to halt the climate change by transitioning to a circular economy and turning waste into energy,” says Jutta Hakkarainen, Vaisala’s Industrial Measurements business’ Strategy and Business Development Director. “In a resource-efficient business, raw materials are used in an economical and sustainable manner instead of letting them go to waste. Vaisala’s MGP261 multigas instrument helps the biogas production processes become more efficient and improves the biogas quality.”

CO2 traffic lights rely on Sensirion’s CO2 sensor technology

ISIS IC has chosen Sensirion’s SCD30 CO2 sensor for its CO2 signal lights for classrooms, thus enabling reliable and accurate measurements in schools. The SCD30 is the ideal solution for determining air quality and for applications in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) sector.

Scientists have proven that SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses are mainly spread by aerosols exhaled by infected people. In enclosed indoor spaces (classrooms, offices, gyms, theaters, etc.), the main source of aerosols and CO2 is the human body itself. High CO2 concentrations in rooms are therefore accompanied by high aerosol levels, which in turn indicate inadequate ventilation and also increase the risk of infection. Measuring CO2 is therefore a useful method for assessing air quality with respect to CO2 and aerosol concentration, and enables simple, clear, and feasible ventilation recommendations to be made. In the cold season in particular, it is possible to achieve a balance between preventing the building becoming too cold through ventilation, and reducing the risk of viral infection.

“As the expert in environmental sensor technology, Sensirion is the ideal partner for our CO2 traffic lights. Thanks to its high accuracy, compact size, and excellent performance, Sensirion’s SCD30 CO2 sensor met all our requirements,” says Dirk Unsenos of ISIS IC. “In the meantime, we have already been able to gain important insights during our pilot projects in schools, which are significant with regard to safety and acceptance in daily classroom use.”

“While larger respiratory droplets sink quickly to the ground, aerosols can float in the air for a long time. It is therefore especially important to monitor and optimise air quality in classrooms. We are convinced that the CO2 signal light with its reliable measurement and instructive traffic light colors can help to monitor air quality and thus minimise the risk of infection and improve students’ concentration,” says Pascal Gerner, Director Product Management at Sensirion.

Sensirion’s SCD30 sensors, based on CMOSens technology, enable high-accuracy carbon dioxide measurements at an attractive price-performance ratio. In addition to the CO2 sensor, a first-class humidity and temperature sensor is used on the same sensor module.

ION Science launches new global websites

In a key strategic move to reflect the changing needs of its global customer base, Cambridgeshire-based ION Science – leading manufacturer of gas detection instrumentation for occupational health and environmental monitoring applications – has launched re-designed Global websites at www.ionscience.com.

Duncan Johns, Managing Director at ION Science

Boasting a streamlined, modern design, ION Science’s striking new website offers the ultimate user-friendly experience with improved navigation and functionality while allowing visitors to see the full product portfolio for both its gas and leak detectors and sensors and components.

As well as providing visitors with better access to its advanced range of gas and leak detectors and OEM Gas Sensors, the website offers technical knowledge and expertise in any language, through the comprehensive resource centre containing valuable gas guides, application articles and customer case studies.

The site has a wealth of Customer Support content in document and video formats covering Customer service and technical support, instrument and sensor software, accessories and service and calibration.

Duncan Johns, Managing Director at ION Science comments: “We are excited for people to see our new website. The re-design reflects our on-going growth and continued commitment to the development of high-performance gas detection equipment and OEM gas sensors for use on a worldwide basis.”

ExRobotics unmanned robot incorporates ION Science Falco fixed PID

Throughout unmanned facilities within the oil and gas industry, a human presence is generally still needed for regular inspection work, so deploying Ex certified robots (ATEX and IECEx Zone 1) incorporated with the ION Science Falco, can have a significant positive impact on safety by minimising worker field trips, which in turn reduces operating costs.

ION Science’s Falco VOC (volatile organic compound) monitor boasts fast response times and several innovative design features. The instrument’s typhoon technology prevents condensation forming on the sensor making it ideal for use in high humidity and harsh weather conditions.

Ian Peerless, Operations Director at ExRobotics comments: “Our robots are used in the oil and gas industry mainly for first response, fugitive emission and preventative maintenance. The introduction of more stringent fugitive emission regulations and the subsequent opening up of new markets prompted the need for a fixed gas detection instrument that could be incorporated into our remotely operated ExR-1 robot.

“The ION Science Falco VOC monitor was recommended by a significant player in the oil industry who conducted extensive performance tests and trials at a large refinery where the Falco came out on top. When ExRobotics did testing of its own, we also found the detector to be robust and reliable.”

The ExRobotics ExR-1 robot is equipped with camera’s for visual inspection, microphones for sound monitoring and the Falco gas detector for leak detection. It sends an alarm to the control room if a leak is detected.

ExR-1 with Falco navigates autonomously through installations and find its way back to its docking station to recharge. This means that inspectors and operators can reduce their visits to remote or hazardous locations, greatly improving their work safety.

Improving cereal storage facilities with gas sensing

Storage of cereal crops and other foodstuffs is an essential part of ensuring a sustainable and robust food supply. Cereal crops are typically harvested between mid-July to mid-September but with careful storage can be kept for periods longer than a year. Successful storage of cereals involves the balance of a variety of environmental conditions to ensure the maintenance of quality and the original properties of the grain, including weight and appearance. Ideally, stored grain should be able to match freshly harvested grains in terms of nutrition and appeal.

Poor quality storage not just threatens global food security, a growing concern in a world with expanding populations and energy demands, but also comes with a significant financial cost. Maize crops lost to poor storage conditions account for $500 million to $1 billion of lost revenue for the developing world alone.

These are strong motivations to find reliable methods for the monitoring and optimising of environmental conditions for grain storage. Common reasons for spoilage of stored cereals include water and humidity damage, invasion by insects or microorganisms, or even decomposition. Common approaches to kill invasive species were to fumigate storage silos with toxic chemicals but this only addresses the issue of damage by organisms and has become generally less popular with time due to concerns about the safety of using such chemicals on foodstuffs. However, it has been found that by using modified atmospheric conditions that, not only can temperature and humidity damage be minimised, but the decomposition rate slowed and even the growth rates of microorganisms minimised.

Modified Atmospheres

Modified atmospheric conditions mean an environment that deliberately has its gas composition controlled, often by complete replacement of the local atmosphere with a combination of deliberately chosen gases. These are commonplace in all areas of food preservation, from the packaging on supermarket shelves for meat and vegetables, to their use in storage silos for cereals.

Some of the advantage of using modified atmospheric conditions for cereal storage over traditional physio-chemical methods is that there are fewer safety concerns associated with the use of chemical products and several contributors to cereal spoilage can be tackled with the same process. For example, one of the most common causes of food spoilage in humid areas is the uptake of water by the cereal, which often leads to mold growth and decomposition. Reducing the humidity in the environment does not just have to be done with a physical dehumidifying process, such as using a refrigerant to condense water out of the air, but can be done by increasing the nitrogen concentration. Increased nitrogen and oxygen concentrate can also be used to kill insects and microbes.

One gas that is often carefully controlled in modified atmospheric conditions is carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is often used in high concentrations to inhibit insect life in the cereal for preservation, but detection, of carbon dioxide levels can be very useful as an indicator of spoilage of crops.8 As decomposition of the cereal starts to occur, a combination of carbon dioxide, and highly toxic carbon monoxide, are produced and this can be used as a diagnostic for the quality of the storage. One of the issues, if decomposition occurs due to the presence of microorganisms, is if the problem is not rectified quickly, the microorganisms will continue to grow and more of the cereal will be wasted.

Sensitive gas monitors can, therefore, help not just to ensure modified atmospheric conditions are optimal but to check for signs of spoilage, or also the formation of toxic gases. Grain silos will can become anaerobic environments and spoilage can produce large volumes of carbon dioxide, which could lead to the asphyxiation of workers and so gas monitoring is required as part of health and safety legislation.

Many cereal storage facilities are retroactively fitted with modified atmosphere equipment and so easy to install and robust independent gas monitors are the perfect complement for that. To that end, Edinburgh Sensors offer a wide range of OEM gas sensors based on nondispersive infrared (NDIR) technology, a highly sensitive and accurate approach for the detection of many gaseous species such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

For cereal storage facilities, Edinburgh Sensors‘ GasCard NG is the ideal way to ensure optimal storage conditions for crops. As the device is calibrated in factory, no reference gas is required, (the detector is suitable for use with a series of different gases but one device can detect one gas sat a time), and installation and use is designed to be as straightforward as possible. As in the case of spoilage the change in carbon dioxide levels may be very small, the accuracy of ±2% in measuring carbon dioxide concentrations between 0 – 100 % is ideal.

The GasCard NG can easily be connected to external data logging devices using a RS232 interface or TCP/IP protocol. As the sensor is provided with logging software, it only needs a connecting cable to be purchased to be up and ready for real-time data logging. With a short warm-up time of a minute and a response time of less than 90 seconds, the GasCard NG is also suitable for high throughput measurements on a rapidly changing and complex environment of a storage silo, ensuring problems can be detected and solved before they evolve any further and significantly reducing food spoilage.

IR detectors used in breath gas analysis

Due to the high demand for medical technology, LASER COMPONENTS Detector Group has switched its production of IR detectors to multi-shift operation. The components manufactured in Arizona are important key elements in the examination of the CO2 level in breath gas analysis. Due to the current situation, production capacities in the medical technology sector must be increased significantly to provide urgently needed equipment.

In spectroscopic breath gas analysis, PbSe detectors can quickly detect the smallest fluctuations in CO2 concentration even without additional cooling. They can therefore be integrated into medical devices in a space-saving manner. In ventilators, the carbon dioxide content of exhaled air is measured to check whether the patient has absorbed the oxygen provided.

LASER COMPONENTS Detector Group’s portfolio includes all common IR technologies. The production facility in the U.S. state of Arizona primarily manufactures (x-)InGaAs-PIN photodiodes, pyroelectric DLaTGS and LiTaO3 detectors, and PbS and PbSe detectors. With many years of experience and employees who are known in the industry as proven experts, LASER COMPONENTS Detector Group has established itself as the global market leader for PbSe technology. In the E.U., LASER COMPONENTS is leading the campaign to extend RoHS exemptions to continue use of this technology in such important industries as medical technology.

LASER COMPONENTS’ IR detectors are supplied to well-known medical technology manufacturers. Coordination with these customers currently determines the international day-to-day business in order to ensure rapid delivery of critical components.