Robust, wide-range hydrogen sensor

Award Year 

The emerging hydrogen economy will require a large number of hydrogen sensors for safety and efficiency. Sandia National Laboratories’ (SNL) Robust, Wide-Range Hydrogen Sensor is the only one of its kind to offer both low- and high-range hydro-gen measurement capability on the same chip, virtually eliminating false readings and making it an ideal candidate for a variety of government and commercial applications.Existing technologies for detecting hydrogen have numerous drawbacks. They have a limited (more) dynamic range, poor reproducibility and revers-ibility, are subject to false alarms, and tend to be slow, unreliable, and difficult to use. In com-parison, the SNL sensor provides: hydrogen de-tection over a broader range of concentrations; smaller size to allow monitoring at various points; reliable performance over greater temperature range; chip temperature maintained at constant value; and dependable operation in diverse en-vironments (vacuum, non-oxygen ambient, ex-treme vibration/radiation conditions). H2scan Corporation of Valencia, California, has licensed SNL’s sensor technology and, through a formal Cooperative Research and Develop-ment Agreement (CRADA), has developed a small in situ sensor with the capability of detect-ing hydrogen concentrations between 10 parts per million (ppm) and 100%. Today, H2scan has three retail products in commercial use and has delivered sensors to over 200 government and industry customers, including a classified De-partment of Energy plant in Idaho Falls, Idaho. This new technology provides customers with an inexpensive hydrogen sensor that essen-tially eliminates false readings by detecting the presence of hydrogen, with or without oxygen, against virtually any background gas. The sen-sor is applicable to the automotive industry, the hydrogen production market, the petrochemical industry, nuclear waste monitoring, government, and companies with an interest in monitoring hydrogen levels in transformers. Four additional patents have been filed by H2scan, including foreign patent protection. (less)