What is it about?

Much like when using a pH strip for detection of the pH, colourimetric assays can detect all sorts of parameters in a system. This is achieved when the dye interacts with variables, causing the dye to change colour. By exploiting the sensitivity of various dyes to chemicals present in biogas production, we can measure a variety of parameters. This allows us to measure the system with nothing more than a few dyes and a standard digital camera. By taking a before and after image, we can measure the changes in the dye colour digitally.

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Why is it important?

This is important because it allows the user to differentiate between various chemicals within the biogas production process, giving the operator a better understanding of the biological processes occurring within the reactor. Also, this is a much more affordable technique for the detection of different chemicals because it can measure many variables at once, it does not require large equipment and all the necessary parts can be purchased over the counter. This will improve the ability for operators of low-cost biogas plants to have better monitoring of their system to avoid biological process failure, all at a low cost.


I really like the idea of these sensors, and they can be applied to so many industries and sectors for detection of almost limitless amounts of variables. I would love to implement this technology for other applications in simple, low-cost kits that only require a smartphone to analyse the results.

Dr. Jacob J. Lamb
Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Perspectives of optical colourimetric sensors for anaerobic digestion, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, September 2019, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2019.04.083.
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