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Optical fibre technology enables safer approach for Gas Data Ltd

Gas Data and Aston in partnership
L-R Chris Dakin (Gas Data), Daniel Lee (KTP associate), David Benton (AIPT supervisor), David Webb (AIPT lead)


A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between Gas Data Ltd and academics from the Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT) to develop and implement state of the art sustainable gas monitoring solutions has been recognised by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, and graded “Very Good”.  

Gas Data Ltd designs and manufactures an extensive range of portable and fixed gas-analysis instrumentation solutions. These are used world-wide in diverse applications, including waste disposal monitoring, bioenergy control, air-quality analysis, food storage, security and odour monitoring.

The KTP project’s objective was to develop gas monitoring solutions for difficult-to-detect gases, utilising optical fibre technologies, and has exceeded the project’s initial expectations.

Current technologies have proven successful in certain markets such as landfill and early biogas, but as renewable energy markets grow, Gas Data Ltd recognise that the company’s future depends on developing more sophisticated products that deliver greater accuracy and have higher tolerance to contamination, as well as the ability to operate in hostile environments.

Aston’s School of Engineering & Applied Science has a long track record of successful collaborations with companies both large and small, and AIPT is one of the largest photonics research groups in the UK, possessing a world-recognised record of achievement in this area.

This partnership with the AIPT has led to the development of an optical based ammonia sensor which has already proven successful in field trials and has now been made live. Sensors for other gases such as methane, oxygen and hydrogen sulphide will soon be ready for launch. As early adopters of optical fibre technologies in this field, Gas Data Ltd have gained a clear competitive advantage across Europe.

The application of optical fibre technology to sensors has opened opportunities to reduce susceptibility to contamination by mixed gases, offering greater accuracy and sensitivity. Furthermore, it has enabled Gas Data Ltd to simplify systems, and therefore reduce overall costs.

It's great to see an SME benefiting from applying world leading technology, and for it to be recognised by Innovate UK." 


Chris Dakin, Managing Director of Gas Data Ltd said of the project: “This change in Gas Data’s technical capability has increased its competitive advantage in the current market and enable the launch of unique products into emerging markets. Collaboration with the Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies, an acknowledged centre of excellence for research in optical systems, has enabled Gas Data to become a leader in innovative detection technologies.”

Professor David Webb, Deputy Director of the AIPT, said of the project: “It has been deeply satisfying to help Gas Data move from technology concept to prototype product in such a short space of time. We look forward to maintaining a long term relationship with the company.”

Martin May, KTP Manager at Aston University said: “It’s great to see an SME benefiting from applying world leading technology, and for it to be recognised by Innovate UK.  This is an example of how over forty years KTP has demonstrated that the transfer of knowledge between academia to business has immense value in creating wealth and stimulating research.”

To find out more about how your business can benefit from working with Aston University, please email rke@aston.ac.uk or call 0121 204 4242.