Inexpensive Wobbe Index Sensor to Measure Gaseous Fuel Quality

Tech ID: 31689 / UC Case 2016-026-0


The analysis of complex and combustible gas mixtures is typically accomplished by using  bulky, complex and expensive equipment such as gas chromatography analyzers. The applications for such gas analysis range from air quality management to monitoring fuel quality to ensure an engine performance is matched to the fuel composition.  A low cost gas sensor to measure the fuel quality to improve fuel efficiency is desirable.

Brief Description

UCR researchers have developed an inexpensive sensor to measure the energy content and fuel quality of gaseous combustible fuel. This sensor estimates the Wobbe Index in real time time and costs about $10. The sensor is confirmed to operate between -20°and 70°Celsius under pressures of -3600 Psi, with an accuracy of ±1%.


 Fig. 1 shows the predicted Wobbe Index vs Actual Wobble Index, showing the accuracy of the sensor


  • The sensor may be used to estimate the Wobbe Index of gaseous fuel in real time.
  • The sensor may be used to measure the methane number, which is analogous to the octane number (the amount of compression a gas can take before igniting).
  • The data from the sensor may be used to adjust certain control parameters to maximize fuel efficiency in vehicles, gas appliances such as pool heaters, boilers etc.
  • The data from the sensor may be used to utilize the renewable natural gas from landfills into an alternative power source

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 10,132,251 11/20/2018 2016-026

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Other Information


gas, Wobbe index, boilers, landfills, pools, fuel quality, sensor

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