Self-powered leak monitoring system developed for ammonia-powered vessels


Due to its zero carbon, safe storage and high energy density, liquid ammonia is a promising marine fuel in the shipping industry.

However, ammonia is a common toxic gas that can cause irritation to mucous membranes and the respiratory system. Therefore, there is a need to develop a real-time and accurate ammonia monitoring method for long-distance sea voyages.

Recently, a research group led by Professor FENG Liang from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), in collaboration with the group of Professor XU Minyi from Dalian Maritime University, has Developed a full set wireless self-powered ammonia leak monitoring system for ammonia powered vessels.

The system includes a power generation system based on triboelectric honeycomb nanogenerator (TENG), an ammonia detection system based on carbon nanotubes doped with polypyrrole (CNTs-PPy) and a collection system and signal transmission (bluetooth).

This study was published in Nano energy April 11.

Researchers improved the efficiency of electronic conduction through the synergistic effect between carbon nanotubes and conductive polymers, which improved detection performance at room temperature. The sensor showed good performance with low detection limit, short response time (about 90 s), high selectivity, good stability and low cost.

In addition, attributed to bluetooth, the researchers achieved wireless transmission from the detection module to the computer terminal.

By combining with the TENG honeycomb structure provided by Dalian Maritime University, the system could collect and convert the mechanical energy generated by the ship’s engine vibration into electrical energy, realizing the self-driving of the whole detection system.

Additionally, the researchers tested the system on the expedition vessel. The whole detection system worked smoothly in the low cabin of the ship with high temperature and humidity, confirming its potential in practical applications.

“The self-powered wireless detection system can realize maintenance-free long-term monitoring of ammonia leakage during sea voyages,” Prof. FENG said. “He is expected to play an important role in furthering the application and promotion of ammonia energy.”

Reference: Chang J, Zhu C, Wang Z, et al. A complete self-powered ammonia leak monitoring system based on CNT-PPy and a triboelectric nanogenerator for zero carbon ships. Nano energy. 2022;98:107271. doi: 10.1016/j.nanoen.2022.107271

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