The Government has been making attempts to connect all households with Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) connections, but the risks associated with it are often neglected. Accidents due to LPG leakage claim several lives every year. Over 6 crore households in India have already been provided with the LPG connections, and currently, the only way to detect gas leakage is the obnoxious smell that spreads during the leakage.

Most people have a habit to instinctively switch on the lights as soon as they reach home. However, not to turn on any electrical switch is the first precaution one must take during gas leakage as it can easily catch fire due to electric spark. Further unexpected short circuits also pose a threat during the incidents of gas leakage.

The recent Vanasthalipuram gas cylinder blast that claimed one person’s life and injured another in Telangana last month was reportedly caused by gas leakage ignited by a spark after a short circuit.

Researchers from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering of Shoolini University have devised a system that will automatically cut off the electricity supply on detecting the gas leakage. Er. Brij Bhushan explained, “Sensors attached to the circuit will keep a check on the atmosphere at all times and will alert the user as well as cut off the mains supply for the time being in case of gas leakage. User will be able to use electricity only after the controller indicates the gas leakage has been controlled.”

He stated that LPG is highly inflammable and since it is comparatively a heavier gas it moves close to the ground and takes time to disperse. LPG forms a flammable mixture with air in concentrations of between two per cent to 10 per cent and these vapour/air mixtures arising from leakages may be ignited at some distance, but the flames can travel back to the source of the leak resulting in the cylinder blasts.

The patent entitled, ‘automatic AC mains cut off system on LPG gas leakage using Arduino’ has been filed by Er. Brij Bhushan and Er. Pankaj Vaidya in 2017. In an attempt to improve it further, an SMS alert feature using GSM-based technology was also added and an advanced version of the invention was filed for a patent in June last year. Er. Bhushan recalled that the idea to create this system struck his mind while he was changing the gas cylinder at his home and electricity supply began fluctuating.

Shoolini University: Future Plans for LPG leakage

The team is also planning for the commercialisation of the detection system as the installation of this system can reduce the risk of fire accidents caused due to the LPG leakage to a great extent. Er. Brij Bhushan is working as a Teaching Assistant and Er. Pankaj Vaidya is an Associate Professor and Head of School, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Shoolini University.