Maintaining a safe distance while inspecting potential gas leaks is critical for personnel safety. Our Leak Imaging & Quantification (LIQS) system will allow inspectors to scan and observe a wide field-of-view while maintaining a safe operating distance away from suspected gas leaks. Our standoff detection technology can replace many fixed-installed point detectors and identify leak sources, not just the presence of a gas cloud. As a step forward in Optical Gas Imaging (OGI) technology, LIQS will provide an efficient and intuitive way to detect, visualize, quantify and report emissions throughout the natural gas value chain. One major feature of our technology is that leak density and rate can be shown in real-time as a color overlay on a visible image of the scene. This will allow the inspector to find and isolate the source of the leak and report emissions directly from the tablet display. Even hard-to-reach leaks can be located, measured and reported from a safe distance.
Today's OGI cameras are based on cryo-cooled infrared detectors which operate at or below liquid nitrogen temperatures (< 77K). These cameras detect temperature differences between the gas and the ambient environment and require additional maintenance contracts to support their cryo-coolers and sufficient sensitivity for the application. Our LIQS system uses a different region of the infrared spectrum for detection, characterized by reflected light rather than thermal emissions. The benefit of working with reflected light is that we are observing direct optical absorption by the gas and by using multiple filter bands, we are able to reliably measure gas density at every pixel. Critically, OGI cameras must be able to function often in humid environments and in the presence of steam. This is a fundamental limitation of thermal infrared imagers and we are able to avoid these problems by operating in a different wavelength band and by using carefully tuned filters to avoid any water absorption.
A compressor station or refinery can contain hundreds to several thousand individual valves, compressors, pumps and open-ended lines where each seal and bolt is a potential leak source. EPA studies have shown that valves and connectors account for more than 90% of emissions from leaking equipment. Even with this knowledge, today's portable leak detection equipment consists of hand-held "sniffers", laser line-detectors and complex toxic vapor analyzers. These tools serve various functions in the detect-measure-report cycle but the problem is they rely on human operators to place the detector directly in the path of an unknown and invisible gas leak. Consequently, common problems with today's leak inspection practices include not monitoring a component long enough, holding the probe too far away, skipping components, failing to properly calibrate the devices, as well as environmental factors such as wind interference.
Fortunately, the use of OGI equipment has been increasing over the past several years, allowing operators to inspect up to 10X as many components per hour as alternative, non-imaging methods. Until recently, separate methods were required in addition to OGI for measuring leaks once detected. Wouldn't it be much simpler to use one device to detect, visualize and measure gas leaks throughout the facility and around the country? At MultiSensor Scientific, we will provide just that capability on multiple platforms including hand-held systems, truck-mounted and airborne inspections, and automated fixed-site monitoring solutions to replace or augment the many point detectors currently in use industry-wide.