Posted in | Materials Science

ABB introduces first comprehensive gas leak detection solution for utilities to help safeguard city populations

Leaking natural gas pipelines in urban environments can result in explosions and fires. The new ABB MicroGuard™ solution will work alongside ABB’s MobileGuard™ to pinpoint dangerous gas leaks. Faster and easier detection with this patented laser-based technology will help reduce fatalities, environmental damage and material loss.

 

Governments around the world are seeking to reduce the inherent risks of gas leaks to public safety and the negative impact on global warming. ABB’s new portable MicroGuard complements ABB’s MobileGuard, the vehicle-based gas leak detection system currently used by many utilities globally. Combined, they provide a unique solution for an entire natural gas infrastructure. MicroGuard can be used as a stand-alone device but becomes even more powerful when reading the maps generated by MobileGuard to enable surveyors to quickly find leaks on foot, generally within minutes.

Explaining how the solutions work, Dr. Doug Baer, ABB’s Global Product Line Manager for Laser Analyzers, said: “Our LGR-ICOS™ laser absorption technology constitutes the analytical engine at the heart of MobileGuard and MicroGuard, and provides fast, highly sensitive measurements in air that enable us to distinguish quickly and reliably between naturally-occurring methane – from livestock or landfills, for example – and gases leaking from a buried pipe or other potentially dangerous source.”

The hardware is selectively sensitive to natural gas, continuously measuring methane and ethane, wind velocity and local coordinates. Proprietary software incorporates these measurements into detailed fluid dynamics calculations, virtually eliminating false positives and drastically reducing search areas to provide surveyors with the data they need to reliably and quickly locate leaks. The solutions can generate and share digital reports in real-time on a user-controlled and secure Cloud server and, most importantly, continuously maintain rigorous cybersecurity protocols. The field data and comprehensive reports generated allow crews to intelligently prioritize resources and repairs.

Compliance with relevant regulations becomes easier because data is digitally available, immediately.

MobileGuard can be used in vehicles driven at speeds of up to 55mph (88 km/h). MicroGuard will read maps generated by MobileGuard which enables surveyors to leave their vehicle and search on foot to quickly pinpoint leak locations precisely – four times faster than conventional technology.

The ABB patented technology has also been developed for ABB’s HoverGuard™* that can be mounted on an aircraft or UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) to survey locations that are inaccessible by vehicles or technicians, and ABB’s EverGuard™* for fixed locations which can continuously monitor high-risk areas in well pads, gathering lines, pipelines, factories, distribution stations and storage facilities.

Altogether, the complete ABB Gas Leak Detection Platform makes it possible to find leaks throughout the entire natural gas infrastructure – upstream, midstream, downstream, and from utilities – with far higher reliability and speed than ever before by combining leading-edge, cybersecure measurement technology, with advanced data analytics.

These mobile technologies, used separately or in combination, will change the way utilities and service providers search for natural gas leaks in distribution and transmission pipelines, at oil and gas facilities and other industrial sites. Detecting and finding leaks fast makes it possible to fix them quickly, boosting safety and decreasing harmful emissions to the environment.

Doug Baer.

ABB’s complete Gas Leak Detection Platform now represents an important component within a comprehensive industrial or municipal strategy for measuring, and ultimately reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

*EverGuard and HoverGuard will be launched by end of 2020.

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