A new prototype hydrogen sensor has been unveiled
by Christchurch, New Zealand, based Nano Cluster
Devices Ltd ( www.nanoclusterdevices.com ).
Hydrogen sensors have many applications in existing
industries for leak detection and process control,
and could be a key enabler for the emerging ‘hydrogen
economy'. The global market for hydrogen sensors
is already estimated to be several hundred million
US dollars per annum.
Hydrogen is an explosive gas that is currently
widely used in many industries, and which may
become the fuel of the future, replacing fossil
fuels. The only emissions from hydrogen powered
cars would be water. NCD researchers believe
that commercial hydrogen sensors based on their
new prototypes will have many advantageous
properties, for example, low cost, fast response
times, high sensitivity, and low power consumption.
These sensors could be used in applications
as varied as:
- Detection of impending electrical power
transformer failure. There are estimated
to be more than 400,000 large power transformers
worldwide, each worth ~US$2millon. There
is currently great interest from power transmission
companies in protecting their multi-billion
- Monitoring Hydrogen concentrations in Fuel
- Leak Detection during transportation and
storage of H2
- Industrial Process Gas Monitoring
- Sensing hydrogen buildups in lead acid
storage batteries (found in most vehicles).
- Detecting hydrogen leaks during ammonia,
methanol manufacturing, and desulphurization
of petroleum products along with many other
“This is a major step forward for Nano Cluster
Devices,” says NCD Chief Scientist Dr Simon
Brown “It is a great demonstration of the usefulness
of nanowire devices, and in particular the
importance of NCD's technology for producing
NCD has patented several methods of self-assembling atomic clusters (or
nanoparticles) into nanowires.
Nanotechnology is an emerging field widely
seen as having as great an importance as biotechnology
and information technology. Nanotechnology
will have tremendous impacts in these fields
as well as in electronics, medicine and many
others. NCD's self-assembled nanowires can
also be used as the key components in transistors
or as interconnects between devices on silicon
chips. Nanowires therefore have the potential
to enable much smaller and faster computers
than those possible today.
month NCD's nanowire technology is being showcased
to the international semiconductor industry,
after selection by a panel of industry experts
for the Technology Innovation Showcase (TIS).
TIS will be held in conjunction with the SEMICON
West conference in San Francisco in July.