Today, renewable fuels such as biogas are being used to fuel combined heat and power (CHP) and distributed generation (DG) systems. The composition of biogas delivered to power generation equipment varies depending upon the origin of the anaerobic digestion process and site-specific factors. For improved process control and optimum utilization of CHP/DG systems, the biogas composition needs to be monitored. A new apparatus has been developed for characterization of hydrocarbon fuel mixtures. The method utilizes near infrared absorption spectroscopy to monitor composition and heating value of landfill gas, natural gas, and other hydrocarbon fuel gases. The measurement is virtually instantaneous. A commercialized version of this sensor is expected to cost less than half the price of gas chromatographs, which are widely used in the gas industry today.

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