Pipeline Monitoring with Linear Gas Sensors
Proceedings Publication Date
Comprehensive monitoring of pipelines over their full length is technically difficult and expensive. Considering a cost-benefit ratio it is reasonable to implement monitoring solutions in pipeline segments, which bear a high risk potential, like residential areas, construction sites, slopes, street or river crossings. Still such segments can measure up to several hundred meters in length, demanding for monitoring solutions that extend along such distances and enable fast response. Point wise sensing and periodical surveillance have clear drawbacks, particularly regarding early damage detection. Fibre optic sensors enable distributed sensing of temperature and strain, but they offer very limited possibilities for measuring gas concentrations. Linear membrane-based gas sensors enable the monitoring of gas concentrations alongside a pipeline. Such line-sensors are implemented in form of flexible tubes and can be arranged inside or outside the pipeline (also underwater or within the subsurface), corresponding to the technical requirements. The measuring method combines the gas specific diffusion rates through a membrane with Dalton’s law of partial pressures and enables the calculation of gas concentrations or the detection of a change of the gas composition. The objective is to detect gas leakages fast and with high reliability. Furthermore, the calibrated system enables to estimate the spatial extent of a leakage. So far the gas concentration measurement is tested for oxygen, carbon dioxide, methane; further gases should follow, e.g. hydrogen, carbon monoxide or mixtures like natural gas. The paper introduces in the different operating modes of line-sensors. A near real-time approach will be demonstrated to quantify the impact of a gas leak on the near environment. This approach is based on a critical length describing the expansion of the leaking gas.