Air quality control

Measuring concentrations of harmful gases

Elevated concentrations of certain gases cause damage to humans and nature. Harmful gases such as CO2, CO, NOx or SO2 not only have a negative effect on human performance and well-being, but also on health. In the event of natural disasters, terrorist attacks or major industrial accidents, the detection of harmful or toxic gases is of life-critical importance.

But air quality is also important in industrial production: in many production processes, parameters such as gases, humidity or temperature are constantly being monitored and controlled. In animal breeding a too high concentration of certain gases in the stables impairs the meat quality, for example. In the food industry, defined concentrations of gases such as ethylene are used for controlled fruit ripening.

Compact, energy-efficient gas sensor systems

Most commercial sensors for detecting and monitoring gas concentrations are comparatively large and heavy, and they consume a lot of energy. This makes them unsuitable for many applications. Fraunhofer IPM develops and builds compact, energy-saving gas sensor systems with measuring ranges from a few ppb to the percentage range.

One example of such a compact sensor is a cost-efficient measuring system for the detection of sulfur dioxide (SO2) in exhaust gas filter systems of vessels. In order to comply with the increasingly strict exhaust gas standards in shipping, either expensive, low-sulfur fuel or the use of so-called exhaust gas scrubbers is necessary. Where gas scrubbers are used, a permanent monitoring of the exhaust gas values is mandatory by law. The SO2 measuring system that Fraunhofer IPM has developed together with industrial partners is able to reliably prove the filter effect of the exhaust gas scrubber.

Projects in the field of »Air quality control«


European Community - Eurostars

Project »E-MASUM«


In the »E-MASUM« project, Fraunhofer IPM is developing a novel cost-efficient measurement system for sulfur dioxide.


Project »Gas-O-Chrom«


Early fire gas detection
Optical gas sensors for application in fire detectors


Project »TOXIG«


From fire protection to environmental analysis
Sensors detect toxic gasis on the basis of  color change – fast, long-term stable and cost-efficient


German Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Project »PaSiC«

Within the project »PaSiC«, Fraunhofer IPM is developing a specific spectrometer setup for the spectral characterization of photoacoustic detector cells.