A microfabricated fuel heating value monitoring device comprises a microfabricated gas chromatography column in combination with a catalytic microcalorimeter. The microcalorimeter can comprise a reference thermal conductivity sensor to provide diagnostics and surety. Using microfabrication techniques, the device can be manufactured in production quantities at a low per-unit cost. The microfabricated fuel heating value monitoring device enables continuous calorimetric determination of the heating value of natural gas with a 1 minute analysis time and 1.5 minute cycle time using air as a carrier gas. This device has applications in remote natural gas mining stations, pipeline switching and metering stations, turbine generators, and other industrial user sites. For gas pipelines, the device can improve gas quality during transfer and blending, and provide accurate financial accounting. For industrial end users, the device can provide continuous feedback of physical gas properties to improve combustion efficiency during use.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST
This invention was made with Government support under contract no. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Sandia Corporation. The Government has certain rights in the invention.