Natural gas consists almost entirely of methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas with more than 80 times the climate-warming impact of carbon dioxide in the 20 years following its release. Methane emissions account for about 25% of the warming experienced today. The climate benefits of cleaner-burning natural gas are undermined when so much of it leaks. Leaks also mean lost product—to the tune of at least $30 billion each year.
Detecting flammable and combustible gases quickly and accurately is a matter of life and death for first responders and for industries that process hydrogen, hydrocarbon-based fuels and chemicals, and explosive materials. Also, gas detection is protecting the environment at-large.
Industrial accidents, wildfires, and terrorist attacks can all take the form of hazardous airborne plumes that jeopardize the health of people caught in their path. Early detection and real-time monitoring of the location and intensity of such plumes is critical.
Typical indoor air contains dozens of chemicals at concentrations in the parts-per-billion (ppb) or parts-per-million (ppm) range—well below their odor thresholds. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency studies show that the concentrations of at least a dozen common organic pollutants are 2 to 5 times higher inside our homes than outside.
Concerns over climate change are leading to new laws restricting the use of refrigerants common in air-conditioning systems. Emerging government regulations at the state, national, and international levels want to phase-out refrigerants with high Global Warming Potential (GWP). Such refrigerants are thousands of times more polluting than carbon dioxide.