Natural Gas Distribution Integrity Management Using Advanced Mobile Methane Detection Technology and Data Analytics

Proceedings Publication Date:

01 Aug 2017
Aaron Van Pelt
Aaron Van Pelt
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Picarro has developed state-of-the-art methane detection and quantification technology that can be brought to bear on the challenges of natural gas leak detection and integrity management. We have developed and deployed a vehicle-based optical natural gas sensing technology based on Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy (CRDS) that is able to detect even small natural gas leaks at distances up to 100 meters or more. Geospatial awareness and wind measurements localize the leak for investigation. Leaks can be distinguished from other environmental sources of methane on the basis of other gases detected in the leak plume. All of this rich data is provided as the vehicle moves at the speed of traffic, and is uploaded to a secure web-based storage, analysis, visualization, and reporting engine. The analytics engine incorporates pipeline GIS so that leak detections are reported in relation to actual pipeline locations enabling faster and more efficient leak survey on pipelines – mains and services; rapid response to odor calls; and rapid assessment of the impact of natural disasters. Using this novel methane detection and with the application of advanced data analysis algorithms, Picarro has developed a system capable of quantifying the emission rate of individual leaks. Areas of unusually high emissions can be mapped and tagged for future repair or replacement. These high quality data provide unprecedented visibility into the state of the natural gas distribution, transmission and storage system today, and how it evolves over time. With these technologies, utilities can move beyond the costly and time-consuming manual leak search and repair paradigm of past years into a world of intelligent, data-based infrastructure integrity management, leading to a safer natural gas distribution system with a much smaller GHG footprint.

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