This report summarizes work performed by Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) to advance the state-of-the-art of surveying for leaks of natural gas from transmission and distribution pipelines. The principal project goal was to develop means of deploying on an automotive platform an improved version of the handheld laser-based standoff natural gas leak detector previously developed by PSI and known as the Remote Methane Leak Detector or RMLD. A laser beam which interrogates the air for methane is projected from a spinning turret mounted upon a van. As the van travels forward, the laser beam scans an arc to the front and sides of the van so as to survey across streets and to building walls from a moving vehicle. When excess methane is detected within the arc, an alarm is activated. In this project, we built and tested a prototype Mobile RMLD (MRMLD) intended to provide lateral coverage of 10 m and one lateral scan for every meter of forward motion at forward speeds up to 10 m/s. Using advanced detection algorithms developed as part of this project, the early prototype MRMLD, installed on the back of a truck, readily detected simulated gas leaks of 50 liters per hour. As a supplement to the originally planned project, PSI also participated in a DoE demonstration of several gas leak detection systems at the Rocky Mountain Oilfield Testing Center (RMOTC) during September 2004. Using a handheld RMLD upgraded with the advanced detection algorithms developed in this project, from within a moving vehicle we readily detected leaks created along the 7.4 mile route of a virtual gas transmission pipeline.
Document type: Report
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