Early forest fire detection using low energy hydrogen sensors
The North-east German Lowlands is a region with one of the highest forest fire risks in Europe. In order to keep damage levels as low as possible, it is important to have an effective early warning system. Such a system is being developed on the basis of a hydrogen sensor, which makes it possible to detect a smouldering forest fire before the development of open flames. The prototype hydrogen sensor produced at the Humboldt University Berlin has a metal/ solid electrolyte/insulator/ semiconductor (MEIS) structure, which allows cost-effective production. Due to the low energy consumption, an autarchic working unit could be installed in the forest. Field trials have shown that it is possible to identify a forest fire in its early stages when hydrogen concentrations are still low. A significant change in the signal due to a fire was measured at a distance of about 100m. In view of the potential impacts of climate change, the innovative pre-ignition warning system is an important early diagnosis and monitoring module for the protection of the forests.