HC sensors from smartGAS for detecting methane, propane and butane

CH4, C3H8 and C4H10 belong to the group of alkanes. They are the main component of petroleum and natural gas, which makes them the most important raw material for the (petro)chemical industry. Alkanes are used to produce solvents, combustives and fuels. After being converted to olefins, however, they are also used as raw materials for the production of biologically degradable detergents. Methane is an alkane that is also important in the production of biogas.

HC sensors from smartGAS use NDIR technology to detect even minuscule concentrations of methane, propane and butane in the ambient air. They feature minimal drift, short response times and good selectivity. The sensors are available with measuring ranges of 5,000 ppm and 4.4 vol%, 5 vol%, 10 vol%, 50 vol% and 100 vol%. 

Sensors for detecting methane gas in biogas plants

Methane is also present in biogas. It arises during the fermentation of organic materials such as corn, slurry, organic waste and sewage sludge. In a downstream step the biogas is purified to produce high-quality methane. Continuous measurement of the biogas composition is important for optimal control of the fermentation process and production of high-quality gas. A special calibration process allows the reliable and highly precise detection of the methane concentration in biogas by means of smartGAS HC sensors. They operate with a response time of only 12 seconds or less, which also makes them ideal for real-time monitoring of the fermentation process. This allows plant operators to implement fast readjustment in case of deviations, and to correct any errors in the fermentation process.

HC sensors detect leaks in the petrochemical industry

In the production of petroleum and natural gas 75 million tons of methane are lost every year due to leaks. These losses are costly to plant operators, not to mention the effect on climate change. Experts of the International Energy Agency IEA have calculated that about three-fourths of all methane losses could be avoided with simple technological means. However, this requires detection of the losses. The HC sensors from smartGAS allow you to detect leaks in refineries, pipelines or tanks immediately, so that you can take counter-measures. You will not only boost the efficiency of your plants, but also help to protect the environment.

HC sensors provide for an optimal propane concentration in metallurgy

Propane is used for example in the extraction and processing of metals (metallurgy). The composition of the gas atmosphere in the blast furnace is decisive for the quality of the end product. It defines the properties of the metal surfaces, such as resistance to wear. Continuous monitoring of the C3H8 concentration in the furnace atmosphere ensures that the conditions for metal production will be ideal.

Leak detection in air conditioning systems and liquefied gas tanks

Propane gas, however, is used not only in industrial processes. It is also used as a coolant in air conditioning systems (R290). Leaks not only impair proper functioning of the systems – they are also quite costly. With HC sensors from smartGAS you can immediately detect and eliminate even the smallest leaks.

Butane is another versatile gas. As liquefied gas, for example, it is used for heating greenhouses, building carcasses, and camping vehicles, as well as stables in agriculture. C4H10 in the form of isobutane is also used as a refrigerant in refrigerators (R-600a) and as an aerosol for spray cans.


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