High-performance hydrogen sensors for leak detection in transportation and industrial applications

This project will develop hydrogen sensors with superior sensitivity, selectivity, and response times for early leak detection in marine and ground transportation sectors.

The development of hydrogen technologies has increased rapidly in response to mandated reductions in GHG emissions required to achieve net zero goals. However, suitable early leak detection systems to ensure safety is a major gap in the value chain. To this, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published a safety codes and standards report outlining targets for early leak detection systems for both transportation and stationary applications. To date, no cost-effective sensing technology meets all of these standards.

Integrative Nanotech will leverage our intellectual property for commercial-scale nanomaterials to develop a hydrogen sensor that exceeds DOE standards and can be mass produced with reduced manufacturing costs. This will be achieved by combining the advantages of nanostructured materials, current state-of-the-art in hydrogen sensing materials and cutting-edge atomic layer deposition techniques.

Integrative Nanotech is capitalizing on an established relationship with the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films based in Braunschweig, Germany. This partnership will provide access to world-class material production and characterization equipment (free of charge), which otherwise would not be accessible in Canada, and provide a strategic advantage for development of our sensors.

At the end of the 12-month project, the technology will be demonstrated in a lab environment and a pilotable prototype leak detection system will be created. The prototype will then be installed for application-specific testing with select partners in the hydrogen value chain. Additionally, a sophisticated testing system will have been created which allows for rapid prototyping and validation of hydrogen sensors in a variety of conditions (such as H2/CH4 blending, and other specific atmospheric conditions).

Upon successful pilot testing, evaluations will be made for the possibility for local manufacturing and scale-up.


Principal Investigator: Hunter King, Integrative Nanotech Ltd.
Partners: Michael Freund, Dalhousie University / Integrative Nanotech Ltd.; Volker Sittinger Fraunhofer Institute for Thin Films and Surface Engineering

September 1, 2023 – September 30, 2024