Mining Feature: Tiny Technology Offers Big Promise for Mining Industry

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

New gas sensing technology fits on the face of a penny.

New gas sensing technology fits on the face of a penny. Photo by General Electric.

As part of a multi-year contract with NIOSH’s Mining Program, General Electric (GE) researchers have developed a cutting-edge gas sensing technology that will use a single sensor for detection of two gases—methane and carbon monoxide. Existing personal monitors that measure these gases require miners to use separate sensors to gauge air quality.

Although widely used in the mining industry, current sensor technologies can be costly, unreliable, sensitive to interference, and burdensome to wear. As described in a GE press release, the new sensor design offers a versatility in a size “as small as a grain of rice.”

To put this innovation into perspective, Dr. Chenming Zhou, who is the NIOSH Mining Program's technical monitor over the GE contract, says, “Combined with microelectronics and modern machine learning data analytics, we believe this new, small single sensor shows great potential for providing more reliable and cost-effective solutions for next-generation gas monitoring in the mining industry.”

Page last reviewed: 10/28/2020 Page last updated: 8/21/2020