Low-cost sensors for greenhouse gas detection and measurement

Organic vapors can impact both climate and the environment. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas. Non-methane volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can have significant harmful effects on human health. We have two projects, one funded by the EPA and one by the DOE, to develop low-cost sensors for methane and VOCs. The methane sensor will be deployed to measure leaks from the natural gas distribution system. The VOC sensor suite will be used for both ambient outdoor and residential deployment, which will enable human exposure estimation and benefit pollution control. Five metal oxide semiconductor sensors, one electrochemical sensor, and two photoionization detectors will be combined as a sensor suite. Taking advantage of their different selectivity, numerical algorithms and machine learning algorithms will be established from laboratory and field calibration data to realize ppb-level detection and rough speciation. Students working on these projects will have the opportunity to build laboratory skills, analyze data, and interact with a variety of graduate students in the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies (CAPS).