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Tech Company Involved In Breakthrough Research

Scientists at Louisiana Tech have developed a new sensor that could help with the problems associated with moisture in natural gas.
by Staff Writers
Ruston LA (SPX) Apr 11, 2007
Moisture in natural gas may no longer be an issue in the near future due to research conducted at Louisiana Tech. A sensor that has been developed by Sensacoil is as small as, or smaller than, a grain of dust and may be able to detect the moisture, which currently is costly to discover and even more so if it is not found and removed.

Frank Ji, associate chemistry professor and co-founder of Sensacoil, said the microsensors are under development. The company is based out of Tech's business incubator and is working through the Institute for Micromanufacturing.

"(Natural gas industries) have to keep the water level low, or they will have problems with efficiency," Ji said. "The industry needs that standard."

However, sensors currently used can cost anywhere between $5,000 and $30,000, Ji said.

"If we can lower that cost, they can put sensors everywhere," Ji said. "We are trying to make it cost-effective and replace the sensors they are using now."

Ji said he expects the microsensors Sensacoil is creating could cost only a few hundred dollars instead of in the thousands. He also is hoping to market the product in the near future.

"I'm optimistic we can market it in a year and a half or two years," Ji said. "I'm hoping for that."

Students who have helped Ji on the project include Qi Chen, Prithima Kapa, Arogya Deepika Bandhanadham, Carol (Yanqing) Lu, Madhu Mutyala and Scott Williams.

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Searching For Alternative Sources Of Energy
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The development of unconventional and renewable energy sources is a major challenge facing humankind in the twenty-first century. Technologies such as nuclear fusion and biofuels will prove vital if humankind is to find an alternative to hydrocarbons.

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