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Title: Methane, Ethane, and Propane Sensor for Real-time Leak Detection and Diagnostics

Abstract

The Phase I effort demonstrated the technical viability of a fast, sensitive, mobile hydrocarbon monitor. The instrument will enable the oil and gas industry, researchers, and regulators to rapidly identify and chemically profile leaks from facilities. This capability will allow operators to quickly narrow down and mitigate probable leaking equipment, minimizing product loss and penalties due to regulatory non-compliance. During the initial development phase, we demonstrated operation of a prototype monitor that is capable of measuring methane, ethane, and propane at sub-part-per-billion sensitivities in 1 second, using direct absorption infrared spectroscopy. To our knowledge, this is the first instrument capable of fast propane measurements at atmospheric concentrations. In addition, the electrical requirements of the monitor have been reduced from the 1,200 W typical of a spectrometer, to <500 W, making it capable of being powered by a passenger vehicle, and easily deployed by the industry. The prototype monitor leverages recent advances in laser technology, using high-efficiency interband cascade lasers to access the 3 μm region of the mid-infrared, where the methane, ethane, and propane absorptions are strongest. Combined with established spectrometer technology, we have achieved precisions below 200 ppt for each compound. This allows the monitor to measure fast plumesmore » from oil and gas facilities, as well as ambient background concentrations (typical ambient levels are 2 ppm, 1.5 ppb, and 0.7 ppb for methane, ethane and propane, respectively). Increases in instrument operating pressure were studied in order to allow for a smaller 125 W pump to be used, and passive cooling was explored to reduce the cooling load by almost 90% relative to active (refrigerated) cooling. In addition, the simulated infrared absorption profiles of ethane and propane were modified to minimize crosstalk between species, achieving <1% crosstalk between ethane and propane. Finally, a monitor was designed based upon the commercial compact mini-spectrometer capable of dual-laser operation. We intend to build and test this during phase II. Multiple opportunities for improvement were also identified. First, the reported ethane and propane concentrations are susceptible to external acceleration acting upon the instrument. During phase II we will address this “motion-sickness”. Second, significant software development will be needed operate the monitor at 1 second resolution in real time, and provide rapid, actionable data to a driver or passenger.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Aerodyne Research, Inc., Billerica, MA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Aerodyne Research, Inc., Billerica, MA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC); USDOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE)
OSTI Identifier:
1347976
Report Number(s):
DOE-ARI-11219-1
9789320207
DOE Contract Number:  
SC0015736
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
03 NATURAL GAS; 02 PETROLEUM; 04 OIL SHALES AND TAR SANDS; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; propane; ethane; methane; sensor; leak detection; diagnostics; emissions; LDAR; greenhouse gases

Citation Formats

Roscioli, Joseph R., Herndon, Scott, Nelson, David D., and Yacovitch, Tara. Methane, Ethane, and Propane Sensor for Real-time Leak Detection and Diagnostics. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1347976.
Roscioli, Joseph R., Herndon, Scott, Nelson, David D., & Yacovitch, Tara. Methane, Ethane, and Propane Sensor for Real-time Leak Detection and Diagnostics. United States. doi:10.2172/1347976.
Roscioli, Joseph R., Herndon, Scott, Nelson, David D., and Yacovitch, Tara. Fri . "Methane, Ethane, and Propane Sensor for Real-time Leak Detection and Diagnostics". United States. doi:10.2172/1347976. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1347976.
@article{osti_1347976,
title = {Methane, Ethane, and Propane Sensor for Real-time Leak Detection and Diagnostics},
author = {Roscioli, Joseph R. and Herndon, Scott and Nelson, David D. and Yacovitch, Tara},
abstractNote = {The Phase I effort demonstrated the technical viability of a fast, sensitive, mobile hydrocarbon monitor. The instrument will enable the oil and gas industry, researchers, and regulators to rapidly identify and chemically profile leaks from facilities. This capability will allow operators to quickly narrow down and mitigate probable leaking equipment, minimizing product loss and penalties due to regulatory non-compliance. During the initial development phase, we demonstrated operation of a prototype monitor that is capable of measuring methane, ethane, and propane at sub-part-per-billion sensitivities in 1 second, using direct absorption infrared spectroscopy. To our knowledge, this is the first instrument capable of fast propane measurements at atmospheric concentrations. In addition, the electrical requirements of the monitor have been reduced from the 1,200 W typical of a spectrometer, to <500 W, making it capable of being powered by a passenger vehicle, and easily deployed by the industry. The prototype monitor leverages recent advances in laser technology, using high-efficiency interband cascade lasers to access the 3 μm region of the mid-infrared, where the methane, ethane, and propane absorptions are strongest. Combined with established spectrometer technology, we have achieved precisions below 200 ppt for each compound. This allows the monitor to measure fast plumes from oil and gas facilities, as well as ambient background concentrations (typical ambient levels are 2 ppm, 1.5 ppb, and 0.7 ppb for methane, ethane and propane, respectively). Increases in instrument operating pressure were studied in order to allow for a smaller 125 W pump to be used, and passive cooling was explored to reduce the cooling load by almost 90% relative to active (refrigerated) cooling. In addition, the simulated infrared absorption profiles of ethane and propane were modified to minimize crosstalk between species, achieving <1% crosstalk between ethane and propane. Finally, a monitor was designed based upon the commercial compact mini-spectrometer capable of dual-laser operation. We intend to build and test this during phase II. Multiple opportunities for improvement were also identified. First, the reported ethane and propane concentrations are susceptible to external acceleration acting upon the instrument. During phase II we will address this “motion-sickness”. Second, significant software development will be needed operate the monitor at 1 second resolution in real time, and provide rapid, actionable data to a driver or passenger.},
doi = {10.2172/1347976},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Mar 24 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Fri Mar 24 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}

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