As concerns grow over the effects of harmful gases on the environment, scientists and engineers are working to develop better technologies to monitor and control those emissions.

Ed Sabolsky, a new faculty member in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at West Virginia University, is developing advanced nano-scale materials to build tiny sensors aimed at detecting minute quantities of harmful gases in the atmosphere.

The sensors, to be composed of nano-derived, metal-oxide composite materials, will detect gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, hydrogen sulfide, methane and others in high-temperature environments such as coal-fired power plants.

Sabolsky was recently awarded $299,950 for the project from the U.S. Department of Energy’s University Coal Research program, which is managed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory. The research will take place over three years.

“Emissions sensors are not new, of course,” said Sabolsky, “but applying micro- and nano-scale technologies to their development will result in devices that are much smaller and less expensive, facilitating better, more cost-effective monitoring and control of harmful gas emissions. The ultimate goal is to develop power plants that are efficient and ultra-clean with near-zero emissions.”

“Dr. Sabolsky’s work is contributing to the development of environmentally responsible fossil-based energy systems, which is a major priority for our University and College,” said Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

Sabolsky earned his bachelor’s degree in ceramic science and engineering from The Ohio State University and his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from The Pennsylvania State University. His research interests include advanced ceramic processing, fuel cells, batteries, multifunctional sensors, and nanomaterials for energy-related processes.



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