How much would a portable sensor that could “sniff” out and identify hazardous vapors be worth? To a large oil or gas refinery, about $700,000 an hour. That’s how much it costs to shut down the plant to find the source of a leak, said Geethanga de Silva. Such a device is the Holy Grail of sensor technology, he said. He believes he and Fred Beyette, who served as his doctorate degree adviser at the University of Cincinnati, are well on their way to creating one through their company, Protech Sensors.
Originally from Sri Lanka, Geethanga de Silva immigrated in 2006 to study electrical engineering at Miami University. After he graduated in 2009, he began studying medical device technology at University of Cincinnati. For his doctoral thesis, he developed a platform that could identify biomarkers in the breath of a sick person. These can be used to detect cancer and other diseases, he said. He created Protech Sensors, a privately held company in Cincinnati Ohio, that is dedicated to improving worker health, safety, and productivity through their innovative VOC sensor technologies. Geethanga is a old boy of Royal College, Colombo. Sri Lanka.