The University of California Riverside’s Chan Seung Park has developed an algorithm and sensor to measure octane levels more effectively.
The product costs around $10 (€8.20) and is designed to optimise combustion by identifying the energy concentration of natural gas, which Park says can vary by more than ten percent. This is compared to industrial scale sensors that use larger $50,000 (€40,000) machines, which are too expensive for smaller businesses.
The researcher uses an unidentified feature in the gas that is easier to measure as an input for the algorithm which then predicts the energy concentration of the gas.
Park created the algorithm when he worked for a refinery, but the company cancelled the project for a perceived lack of market potential.
In 2017, the university approved a grant of $45,000 (€36,450) from UCR’s Office of Research and Economic Development to develop a prototype. Later, the California Energy Commission gave the researcher $1.5 million (€1.2 million) to develop the concept into a product that can reduce natural gas consumption by 10% in breweries within three years.
UCR retains the patent rights to all products developed on campus, with some of those royalties being used to fund proof of concept grants.