Hydrogen safety is a concern of many since it is odorless, invisible and explosive when compressed. Faculty and graduate students at the University of Florida Engineering program as part of a NASA Hydrogen Research Program have come up with a tiny, inexpensive sensor that can detect a hydrogen leak and sound an alarm via wireless technology.
The device they are calling a “sensor node” never needs batteries as it runs off tiny vibrations commonly found in cars, refrigerators, pumps and motors or anything else that gives off vibrations. Currently, the sensor node is the size of a deck of cards so the next step is to miniaturize it and test it in the NASA labs.
This sensor node may one day be used to detect leaks in hydrogen cars, fueling stations, distribution channels and refineries. The node will not only be able to detect the leak, but pinpoint its location and how quickly the leak is spreading so that monitors may quickly and efficiently contain the leak.
Since hydrogen is flammable like gasoline or natural gas, safety will be an ongoing issue, but innovation like this will help keep the problems and concerns to a minimum.