Diode Laser Sensor for Contaminants in Hydrogen Fuel

Period of Performance: 04/11/2016 - 04/10/2018


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Southwest Sciences, Inc.
1570 Pacheco Street Suite E-11
Santa Fe, NM 87505
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


Contaminants in concentrations as small as a fraction of a part per million can poison fuel cells in hydrogen powered vehicles. Thus, contaminant detection at hydrogen fuel stations is needed. An instrument that can monitor the fuel purity is sought. Construction of hydrogen fuel stations are starting to accelerate, making this issue a priority. Statement of how this problem or situation is being addressed: A diode laser instrument will be developed that can detect common fuel contaminants in hydrogen fuel. Multiple lasers will be used in the instrument to detect the various contaminants. A sensitive optical absorption technique known as wavelength modulation spectroscopy will be used in the instrument. Phase I project An instrument will be constructed to detect carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and methane using two lasers. Measurements will be made to establish the sensitivity of the instrument for these contaminants. Optimization of the instrument configuration will be performed to ensure fast response and simplicity in design. The Phase I results will lead to a Phase II instrument that will also include water vapor detection capability. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The proposed instrument will be used for the detection of contaminants in hydrogen fuel at fueling stations.