Researchers in the Center for Photonics Technology (CPT) are developing a long-term, large-area, fiber-optic sensor network that can detect and locate carbon dioxide (CO₂) leaks. These sensors, which use laser spectroscopy to detect gases, can operate over a large area and have low power needs: they can be operated for multiple years either by battery or solar panel. The data from each sensor will be transmitted wirelessly to a central receiver, which can generate a CO₂ spatial distribution in real time.
Anbo Wang, CPT director, explains that “each sensor node operates on CO₂ absorption in the near infrared where low cost tunable DFB lasers are commercially available.” Laser spectroscopy, according to Wang, is immune to interference from other chemical species, which makes it ideal for operation in environments such as CO₂ sequestration sites.
The project is funded by the Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory.