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A breakthrough high resolution, real-time, industrial molecular analyser for advanced process control in the biogas production industry

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SRSensor (A breakthrough high resolution, real-time, industrial molecular analyser for advanced process control in the biogas production industry)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2018-04-30

Spectroscopy has been in use as an important measurement and analysis tool for process monitoring and production control for more than half a century. They range in complexity from the simplest filter-based photometers to both optically and mechanically complicated devices, such as Stimulated Raman Spectroscopy (SRS), Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIR) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) instruments. Simple nondispersive infrared (NDIR) instruments are commonly used for systems where one to a few main analytes are involved. For more complex measurement situations, it is necessary to record more spectral information, and often full spectrum analyzers are used. A wide range of analysis techniques exist, and many of these may be adapted to either near-line production control or on-line process monitoring applications. Instrumentation used within a manufacturing environment usually requires special packaging to protect the instrument from the environment due to fluctuating conditions such as temperature, pressure, and most importantly, sample volatility. This places special constraints on the way that an instrument is designed and the ability to acquire accurate readings. Often, it is necessary to utilize highly expensive sensors, normally not required for laboratory instruments, to meet the performance objectives. For most practical installations within a production environment it is a normal requirement for the final instrument to comply with a wide range of local manufacturing and electrical safety codes. The range of applications of spectroscopy is extremely broad and the technique can play an important role in virtually all industries for manufacturing quality, production output and control, and for environmental monitoring. The SRSensor will allow for a more precise analysis of the gas generation process due to its highly specific lasers and optical equipment. The specific readings will allow the end users to adjust the input parameters to the generation process, allowing them to find the optimal setting to produce the cleanest and pollutant free biogas. Subsequently, quality biogas leads to a higher conversion rate to electrical energy as well as less pollution and foreign particles, directly translating to less build up of foreign matter on engine/turbine components, leading to less maintenance and lower risk of unexpected failure.
optiQGain undertook a full analysis of both the technical and business potential of the SRSensor concluding that it would be highly valuable for the commercial industry. optiQGain reviewed the results achieved with their initial testing in conjunction with General Electric to identify needed improvements to be made during the Phase 2 project. Specifically, they defined the necessary upgrades to the subcomponents and firmware necessary for maximum efficiency for biogas and natural gas analysis. The company used the feasibility study to scout additional distributors and suppliers to participate in the assembly and in field demonstration of the SRSensor.
The expected outcome of the project is to successfully execute the market validation and demonstrate that the value of highly accurate molecular analysis for process improvement and optimization. The highly accurate data acquisition process coupled with the integrated IoT connectivity will enable easy and seamless analysis and adjusting of input parameters to maximize high quality output gas. The SRSensor development will boost economic growth and create jobs within optiQGain.
Testing setup of SRSensor for natural gas application
Testing setup of SRSensor for natural gas application
Photo of SRSensor