The global market for gas sensors was valued at USD 1,664.8 million in 2012 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.7% during the forecast period from 2012 to 2018 and reach USD 2,328.3 million by 2018. Strengthening government regulations for safety at workplace and emission control are primarily driving the market for gas sensors. Gas sensors are used for detecting concentration of different combustible and toxic gases and are witnessing increased demand from industrial, petrochemical and automotive sectors. Gas sensors in industrial applications are used for detecting gas leaks and monitoring indoor/outdoor air quality. It helps in detecting the presence of toxic and combustible gases and thus prevents mishaps.
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Gas sensors are devices that detect the concentration of gas and convert it into an electrical signal. Varieties of gas sensing technologies are used for this purpose. Some of the major technologies used include electrochemical gas sensing, semiconductor gas sensing, PID (photoionization detector) gas sensing, catalytic gas sensing, infrared gas sensing, solid state gas sensing and others. Gas sensors based on electrochemical and semiconductor gas sensing technologies are the most popular and are commonly used for detecting toxic and combustible gases.
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Low cost and high efficiency of electrochemical and semiconductor gas sensors are responsible for driving the demand for these types of gas sensors. They together, accounted for a share of over 35% of the total gas sensors market in 2012. Gas sensors based on electrochemical technology cost around USD 40 per unit. Gas sensors based on semiconductor technology cost only USD 2 to 5 per unit. Infrared technology based gas sensors are the most expensive and cost around five times that of electrochemical technology based gas sensors (around USD 200 to USD 250). Infrared gas sensors, also known as precision gas sensors are generally preferred for high-end industrial applications where high level of specificity and accuracy is required. Sensors based on PID gas sensing technology are preferred for detection of volatile organic compounds. Catalytic sensors are extensively used for detecting combustible gases such as methane, hydrogen, butane and others.