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.
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.
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.
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.
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.