A University of Illinois’ research team, is on the way to develop an electrochemical sensor, to mark the presence of a particular contaminant such as sulfur based compounds or sulfur itself in fuels.
Alan Hansen, lead researcher on the project, and professor of biological and agricultural engineering at the UI, says that, if such a sensor is placed within a fuel line, it can sense impurities present in the fuel, that are generally not detected by the currently available sensors.. Experiments are being conducted, emulsifying diesel with biodiesel and the sensor is allowed to quantify the extent of biodiesel, simultaneously scrutinizing its quality, for contaminants such as glycerol, methanol and water.
Sulfur, if goes unbridled into the fuel line, can expel perilous exhaust fumes, which can destroy the catalysts in the filters that belong to the post treatment system entrenched in the engine. These filters are developed in accordance with the strict diesel emissions regulations of the U.S. EPA. These experiments have not given any tangible results yet, but the team’s collaboration with an anonymous engine manufacturer is expected to yield results. Hansen concludes that electrochemical sensing is one of the options that are being explored along with other commercial sensors. But they have a long way to go before they could produce a device, with a consistent course of action.