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Title: Natural Gas Fugitive Leak Detection Using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle: Localization and Quantification of Emission Rate

Abstract

We describe a set of methods for locating and quantifying natural gas leaks using a small unmanned aerial system equipped with a path-integrated methane sensor. The algorithms are developed as part of a system to enable the continuous monitoring of methane, supported by a series of over 200 methane release trials covering 51 release location and flow rate combinations. The system was found throughout the trials to reliably distinguish between cases with and without a methane release down to 2 standard cubic feet per hour (0.011 g/s). Among several methods evaluated for horizontal localization, the location corresponding to the maximum path-integrated methane reading performed best with a mean absolute error of 1.2 m if the results from several flights are spatially averaged. Additionally, a method of rotating the data around the estimated leak location according to the wind is developed, with the leak magnitude calculated from the average crosswind integrated flux in the region near the source location. The system is initially applied at the well pad scale (100–1000 m 2 area). Validation of these methods is presented including tests with unknown leak locations. Sources of error, including GPS uncertainty, meteorological variables, data averaging, and flight pattern coverage, are discussed.more » Thus, the techniques described here are important for surveys of small facilities where the scales for dispersion-based approaches are not readily applicable.« less

Authors:
 [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [2];  [3];  [3];  [4];  [1];  [1]
  1. Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ (United States)
  2. Physical Sciences Inc., Andover, MA (United States)
  3. Univ. of Houston, Houston, TX (United States)
  4. Heath Consultants Inc., Houston, TX (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Physical Sciences Inc., Andover, MA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E)
OSTI Identifier:
1501897
Grant/Contract Number:  
[AR0000547]
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Atmosphere (Basel)
Additional Journal Information:
[Journal Name: Atmosphere (Basel); Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 9]; Journal ID: ISSN 2073-4433
Publisher:
MDPI
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
47 OTHER INSTRUMENTATION; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; source estimation; methane emissions; natural gas; leak surveys; inverse emissions; MONITOR; UAV; LDAR

Citation Formats

Golston, Levi M., Aubut, Nicholas F., Frish, Michael B., Yang, Shuting, Talbot, Robert W., Gretencord, Christopher, McSpiritt, James, and Zondlo, Mark. Natural Gas Fugitive Leak Detection Using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle: Localization and Quantification of Emission Rate. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.3390/atmos9090333.
Golston, Levi M., Aubut, Nicholas F., Frish, Michael B., Yang, Shuting, Talbot, Robert W., Gretencord, Christopher, McSpiritt, James, & Zondlo, Mark. Natural Gas Fugitive Leak Detection Using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle: Localization and Quantification of Emission Rate. United States. doi:10.3390/atmos9090333.
Golston, Levi M., Aubut, Nicholas F., Frish, Michael B., Yang, Shuting, Talbot, Robert W., Gretencord, Christopher, McSpiritt, James, and Zondlo, Mark. Thu . "Natural Gas Fugitive Leak Detection Using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle: Localization and Quantification of Emission Rate". United States. doi:10.3390/atmos9090333. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1501897.
@article{osti_1501897,
title = {Natural Gas Fugitive Leak Detection Using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle: Localization and Quantification of Emission Rate},
author = {Golston, Levi M. and Aubut, Nicholas F. and Frish, Michael B. and Yang, Shuting and Talbot, Robert W. and Gretencord, Christopher and McSpiritt, James and Zondlo, Mark},
abstractNote = {We describe a set of methods for locating and quantifying natural gas leaks using a small unmanned aerial system equipped with a path-integrated methane sensor. The algorithms are developed as part of a system to enable the continuous monitoring of methane, supported by a series of over 200 methane release trials covering 51 release location and flow rate combinations. The system was found throughout the trials to reliably distinguish between cases with and without a methane release down to 2 standard cubic feet per hour (0.011 g/s). Among several methods evaluated for horizontal localization, the location corresponding to the maximum path-integrated methane reading performed best with a mean absolute error of 1.2 m if the results from several flights are spatially averaged. Additionally, a method of rotating the data around the estimated leak location according to the wind is developed, with the leak magnitude calculated from the average crosswind integrated flux in the region near the source location. The system is initially applied at the well pad scale (100–1000 m2 area). Validation of these methods is presented including tests with unknown leak locations. Sources of error, including GPS uncertainty, meteorological variables, data averaging, and flight pattern coverage, are discussed. Thus, the techniques described here are important for surveys of small facilities where the scales for dispersion-based approaches are not readily applicable.},
doi = {10.3390/atmos9090333},
journal = {Atmosphere (Basel)},
number = [9],
volume = [9],
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {8}
}

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