Exploring Gas Sensors: Assessing Technological Advances and Unveiling Business Opportunities

This market research report was originally published at the Yole Group’s website. It is reprinted here with the permission of the Yole Group.

In recent years, there has been increasing awareness about health and the environment. Several devices with embedded gas and PM (Particle Matter) sensors have been developed to monitor air quality. At Yole Group, analysts see this trend increase in the next few years and the market to grow from $1.7 billion in 2023 to $2.8 billion in 2029, with a CAGR of 8% over this period for gas and PM sensors, respectively. These figures and detailed analysis has been extracted from the latest sensing report from Yole Group: Gas and Particle Sensors 2024 and CO2 Gas Sensor Comparison 2023.

  • The gas sensors market was worth $1.3 billion in 2023, and it will reach $2.1 billion in 2029 with a CAGR23-29 of 8% in value.
  • The particle sensors market was $333 million in 2023. It will represent $610 million in 2029 with a CAGR23-29 of 11% in value.

Behind Yole Group’s market figures, there are numerous gas-sensing technologies. From conventional electrochemical to emerging technologies like PAS. NDIR and MOX technologies are becoming dominant because they target the main gases for people’s safety. They use semiconductor technology such as MEMS because of its miniaturization and low consumption.

In this dynamic context, players involved in NDIR technology, like Cubic Sensors, are gaining an increasing market share. On the particle sensing side, the primary technology is Optical Light Scattering. This technology is now highly mature, with a well-developed industry. The market leader is Cubic Sensors, though the industry is witnessing a growing number of Chinese companies offering low-cost solutions for consumer applications.

Yole Group MEMS and Sensing analysts Pierre-Marie Visse and Pierre Delbos, had the opportunity to talk with Don O’Brien, Co-Owner of Innovaer Technologies – a joint venture with Cubic Sensors & Instruments, specialized in gas sensing with NDIR technology and PM sensing with light scattering technology, about the positioning of Cubic Sensors and Instruments and the future of NDIR technology for gas sensing. Discover the details of the discussion below.

Pierre-Marie Visse (PMV): Could you briefly present your current product portfolio and the applications it allows you to target?

Don O’Brien (DOB): Innovaer Technologies, in partnership with Cubic Sensors & Instruments, is the largest global air and gas sensing technology manufacturers of NDIR and PM sensing technology. Our innovative technologies are used in HVAC/R, automotive, medical device, and environmental Monitoring applications.

Pierre Delbos (PD): The automotive industry is undergoing massive transformations with the electrification of cars, autonomous driving, and an ever-increasing awareness of in-cabin comfort & entertainment. What do you expect for gas & particle sensors in this market?

DOB: I expect that the automotive industry will begin to adopt several use cases that will benefit from gas and particle sensors:

  • Early warning for EV thermal runaway,
  • EV battery demand optimization,
  • Child left behind detection,
  • Driver alertness monitoring,
  • Cabin air quality monitoring & improvement,
  • Exhaust gas analysis.

These use cases create exponential value for vehicle owners by increasing vehicle safety and reducing the carbon footprint of these vehicles.

PMV: What are the challenges for a larger-scale adoption of gas sensors for thermal runaway detection, and how are your products tackling them?

DOB: In my opinion, the greatest challenge for the large-scale adoption of gas sensors for thermal runaway detection applications is the lack of a uniform standard for automotive manufacturers to follow. As of today, there are many disparate regional standards.

This leads to a knowledge gap about what technologies are the best fit for this application and how the appropriate technologies can be applied to create holistic solutions that will enable an early warning to vehicle occupants when a thermal runaway event begins.

To tackle this challenge, Innovaer and Cubic work directly with Automotive OEMs and Tier-level suppliers to close the technology knowledge gap and demonstrate how gas sensors and controls can identify the earliest stages of thermal runaway in EV battery packs.

PD: In the industrial market, gas and PM sensors can help manage HVACs for energy saving. Another application is the detection of refrigerant gas leaks. What gas sensor trend do you see for this application?

DOB: In the North American market, all HVAC/R OEMs are required to change legacy refrigerant formulations to new formulations that have a lower Global Warming Potential. These new formulations carry an ASHRAE A2L Safety Classification, which requires all HVAC/R OEMs to update their system designs to include A2L refrigerant leak detection and mitigation devices.

The requirement for a leak detection device greatly impacts the total available market for gas sensors, as we know that the total number of HVAC/R systems manufactured will approach 10 million units per year in the near future, and most of these systems will require an A2L refrigerant leak detection and mitigation system.

One unique aspect of this regulatory change, with reference to my opinion on EV thermal runaway detection expressed above, is that the HVAC/R OEMs, ASHRAE, and Underwriters Laboratory coordinated all research efforts to ensure that there was a uniform standard and testing protocol in place in advance of the mandatory refrigerant change implementation.

PMV: CO2 seems to be a major concern in several end-markets, from consumer to industrial safety. And as you know, several technologies can be used – PAS, NDIR, and MOX. What are the pros & cons for each technology and what do you expect for NDIR in the future?

DOB: For NDIR technologies, we see:

  • Pro: High Accuracy – capable of meeting all HVAC/R, industrial, automotive, medical device and environmental monitoring CO2 measurement standards. Extremely long installed life – 15+ years – and no measurement impact from temperature and humidity fluctuations. Additionally, there is no measurement impact from non-target gases.
  • Con: Slightly larger form factor and slightly higher product cost when compared to PAS and MOx

Then regarding PAS solutions:

  • Pro: Low cost, small form factor, SMT installation – ideal for direct-to-consumer grade devices.
  • Con: Reduced measurement accuracy, repeatability, and installed life. Susceptible to measurement influence by temperature, humidity, and vibration. Not ideal for HVAC/R, industrial, automotive, medical device, and environmental monitoring applications.

And with MOx technologies, we think:

  • Pro: Low cost, small form factor, SMT installation – ideal for direct-to-consumer grade devices.
  • Con: Reduced measurement accuracy, repeatability, and installed life. Susceptible to measurement influence by non-target gases as well as temperature and humidity. Not ideal for HVAC/R, industrial, automotive, medical device, and environmental monitoring applications.

There are many considerations that impact a potential innovative new NDIR CO2 sensor. For example:

  • Technological advancement,
  • Performance improvement,
  • Regulatory compliance,
  • Updated form factor,
  • Price optimization,
  • Delivery / Ability to scale and manufacture in volume.

Future NDIR CO2 sensors from Innovaer-Cubic will work to address all these aspects. In the very near future, our customers can expect to see smaller, better-performing sensors with an optimized price-performance ratio that meets appropriate performance regulations.

PD: Cubic’s turnover in 2017 was US$16 million, and it approached US$100M in 2023. How did you achieve such a growth? And what is your outlook for the next five years?

DOB: Innovaer Technologies and our partner Cubic Sensors & Instruments have delivered significant growth over the last five years.

This exponential growth curve is the result of our direct sales model: ensuring that we are close to our customers, soliciting and listening to direct voice-of-the-customer feedback on our legacy solutions, developing a deep knowledge of the regulations that impact our focus verticals, and distilling this complex data set into actionable insights that shape our future products.

Additionally, we work to ensure any commercialized technology not only has an optimized price-performance ratio but can be delivered at a volume such that we can guarantee the stability of our customers’ supply chain.

Our outlook over the next 5, 10, and 15 years is extremely positive as we plan to innovate within our target market verticals while researching new growth areas external to our existing markets.

Here you’ll find a wealth of practical technical insights and expert advice to help you bring AI and visual intelligence into your products without flying blind.



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