Bosch has designed a sensor for measuring the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in a vehicle's cabin that will come in handy if the gas becomes used widely as a refrigerant.

The so-called 'climate control sensor' reacts to the CO2 levels within the cabin and activates the air conditioning system as and when it is required. It is claimed to guarantee a supply of fresh air to the passengers and allows for more efficient operation of the system.

In future vehicle air conditioning systems using CO2 as the coolant, the new sensor could also be used to monitor for gas leakage.

The sensor uses a spectroscopic method to selectively measure the level of CO2 in the air. It is possible to identify even small concentrations below 0.02% volume. The compact two-channel radiation detector enables a reference measurement. The sensor can be easily modified for measuring concentrations of other gases such as carbon monoxide (CO) or natural gas.

The sensor is about the size of a cigarette pack and can be upgraded to act as a 'multi sensor' for automatic air conditioning systems, supplying information on temperature and humidity inside a vehicle.

The sensor can also be used in non-automotive applications.

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