Methane sensor | Flanders Marine Institute

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research

Methane sensor

The methane sensor is used for in situ measurements of dissolved methane in aquatic environments. It can be used for long-term deployment on fixed monitoring platforms (e.g. moorings). VLIZ has modified this sensor to perform its measurements from the seawater supply on board of research vessels, allowing continuous methane concentration measurements of the surface water during fieldwork.

How does the methane sensor work?

The methane sensor has a hydrophobic membrane, but does allow dissolved gases to enter the measuring compartment.
The membrane and auxiliary parts (i.e. flow through pump) are designed in a way to provide fast response in concentration gradients and the incorporated Tunable Diode Laser Ablation Spectrometer (TDLAS) allows the detection of very low methane concentrations.

What are methane sensors used for?

Methane levels are an indication of marine productivity and natural processes, but they can also give information on the degree of human-induces eutrophication (e.g. animal husbandry). Methane production is correlated to global warming, and can be detrimental to marine organisms in various ways. Both the natural production of methane, as well as excessive anthropogenic methane-emission are of interest to marine scientists.

Some studies:

Since 2015 the methane sensor was used in 3 campaigns in the Scheldt estuary and the Belgian part of the North Sea, in order to identify potential sources and processes that are responsible for methane concentrations
Furthermore, the methane sensor was used in a cruise in the Arctic during July 2016 by Fanny Van der Linden (ULg). It was also used in a cruise in the Southern Ocean ( the Antarctic Ross Sea) led by Dr. Célia Sapart (ULB), on board the RV Palmer.

Furthermore, VLIZ cooperates with the European ICOS-structure on the measurement of, and data collection of greenhouse gases.

Technical details

Kongsberg Contros HydroC-CH4 methane sensor

  • Measuring range: 0-40000 μatm
  • Dimensions: 136 x 528 mm (with connector), weight: 5.5 kg in water, 12.5 kg in air
  • Operational depth: maximum 3000 m
  • Software: Contros Detect, offering real-time data visualisation

How to make use of the methane sensor?

For more information about our rental service please contact VLIZ.

Use and conditions

Note: if you use the Kongsberg Contros HydroC-CH4 sensor of VLIZ as a scientist, please refer to it in your publications as:'This work was supported by data & infrastructure provided by the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) as part of the Flemish contribution to the ICOS-project'.