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University Experts Sum Up the Importance of New H2 Measurement Technology: “Urgent Need for Stable and Economical Sensors”

By March 10, 2023 4   min read  (776 words)

March 10, 2023 |

university experts sum up the importance of new h2 measurement technology urgent need for stable and economical sensors

Frankfurt am Main –  Science and industry attach considerable importance to hydrogen for the generation and use of clean energy.

In turn, gas analysis plays a very central role  in H2 production and ongoing process control. A highly innovative sensor technology from Archigas,  recently presented for the first time and developed to market maturity, is tantamount to a quantum  leap here and is causing quite a stir among experts. Renowned scientists from the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences (HSRM), which was involved in the development, explain why the  microsensors are becoming a game changer:

“The importance of being able to make hydrogen usable on a large scale is increasingly being  recognised. Among other things, sensors that are more stable and more economical, and which can be  reliably produced in large quantities, are urgently required“, concludes Prof Dr Birgit Scheppat,  professor of hydrogen and fuel cell technology.  

“If you look at the entire hydrogen chain, spanning production, distribution, storage and combustion,  it becomes clear that sensors are needed at all points in this chain. But the hydrogen sensors in use  today are either extremely big or extremely expensive, and are subject to ageing. These disadvantages  can be countered by using sensors based on so-called MEMS – microelectromechanical systems. The  manufacture of MEMS sensors is already established. Every one of us permanently carries dozens of  MEMS sensors about with us, in our mobile phones“, says Prof Dr Markus Bender, professor of micro and nanotechnologies. 

“Due to H2 technology’s wide range of applications, the sensor systems required must have a dynamic  range that is as great as possible. Hydrogen sensors used with gas mixtures must be able to detect not  only relatively high H2 concentrations, but also extremely low concentrations. The newly developed  sensor solutions for hydrogen detection are based on the thermal conductivity measurement principle  (TCD sensors). The H2‘s concentration in gas mixtures can thus be determined extremely precisely“, judges Prof Dr Friedemann Völklein, director of the Institute for Microtechnologies, 2004–2019.

Thanks to their unique operating mode and design features, the new analyzers from H2 pioneer  Archigas fulfill all of the above aspects – and can thus make a significant contribution to the effective  development of hydrogen in the present and future. 

Facts at a glance

  • The sensors are characterised by their extraordinarily high stability and sensitivity. As so called TCD sensors they are based on the thermal conductivity measurement principle. This  enables the H2 concentration in gas mixtures to be determined extremely precisely
  • The sensors are characterised by the fact that MEMS technology (microelectromechanical  systems) is intelligently used in their production – in other words, proven semiconductor  technology based on silicone wafers. In turn, this permits economical mass production of  sensors that are absolutely identical, without the need for complex calibration
  • The sensors can be installed in numerous places within the scope of measurement  technology and safety measurement: On this basis, gas measurement equipment is designed  and produced for among other applications H2 production using electrolysis, input quality  control and the testing of gas purity, and the control and monitoring of gas mixtures
  • The devices’ easy handling enables quick, trouble-free implementation of the TCD OEM  modules into customer equipment such as gas chromatographs, synthesis gas plants and  many others
  • The business also has concepts for mass flow measurement that is independent of the gas  type, and therefore unique worldwide, along with systems for industrial vacuum and  temperature measurement
  • Close research work with the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences and funding from  the state of Hesse both represent an important basis for the products’ development With immediate effect, Archigas GmbH, with its administrative headquarters in Frankfurt  and new laboratory and production site in nearby Rüsselsheim, offers its innovative H2 measurement technology in different variants

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Archigas is highly specialised in microsensor technology (MEMS) and gas analysis. Since its foundation in 2020,  the company has developed sensor solutions, particularly in the fields of thermal conductivity, pressure  measurement and flow measurement. Archigas’s stated aim is to offer customers cost-effective plug and play  solutions that reliably fulfil highly complex analysis tasks. Since 2022 the company has also been funded by  the state of Hesse as part of its LOEWE programme (‘State Offensive for the Development of Scientific and  Economic Excellence’). This is to support work on the development of measuring devices suitable for the  exploration of natural hydrogen and helium deposits. Despite international bids from the USA and elsewhere,  Archigas GmbH decided to establish its headquarters in the Rhein-Main region, in order to help bolster the  state of Hesse, and therefore Germany as a whole, as a location for business.

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