P23 - Monitoring Indoor Air Quality with low-cost Sensor Systems

16. Dresdner Sensor-Symposium 2022
2022-12-05 - 2022-12-07
J. Amann, C. Bur, A. Schütze - Saarland University, Saarbrücken/D
141 - 144


Today, people spend most of their time indoors. With regard to air quality monitoring, most of it still revolves around outdoor air quality (NOx, particles, etc.). In most cases, CO2 is still measured as the main air quality parameter indoors, although Pettenkofer established as early as 1858 that CO2 is only an indicator for Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) caused by the human metabolism while “bad air” is mainly caused by Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), leading to fatigue and headaches. A distinction can be made between VOCs and their individual health assessment and the total concentration of all VOCs, which is summarized as total volatile organic compounds (TVOC). There are different definitions for TVOC depending on the measurement methodology. According to DIN EN ISO 16000-6, those VOCs that elute on a specific gas chromatography column in a specific retention window (n-hexane to n-hexadecane) are included in the TVOC value. There are not only improvements in analytics since the time of Pettenkofer, but sensor technology has also developed further. Nowadays, a large number of low-cost sensors are available that offer great potential for online monitoring of IAQ. But in the case of indoor air quality and VOCs, there is not just one target value but many hundreds of different VOCs, which still poses a challenge. Therefore, as a complementary approach to the guideline activity of the VDI/VDE GMA FA 4.64 Multigassensors, the scientific research project VOC4IAQ was set up. The aim of the project is to study the potential of low-cost, especially metal oxide semiconductor (MOS), gas sensors currently on the market for IAQ, to establish a test guideline and, if possible, a novel IAQ index based on sensor data. In this work, the potential of low-cost sensors for monitoring VOC activities indoors is outlined.