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   May 16

Optical Gas Imaging

One of the interesting techniques for Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) is in utilizing optical gas imaging. Interestingly, as per the Clean Air Act (CAA), requirements exists for gas leak detection.

EPA lists the performance specifications requirements in EPA reference method 21 which states the use of an emissions monitor and a "bagging" technique that would isolate each component being tested. Components however, could vary, depending on the, complexity of the processes and the industry. A petroleum industry could have millions of components. Gas Leak detection, in such an in industry could amount to millions of dollars.

Passive and active types of imaging techniques have been suggested by EPA. A laser beam is utilized in an active type of device. The laser beam is sent through an hydrocarbon cloud. The optical image of the VOC’s is recorded on a video camera. Passive type utilizes a tuned optical lens which selects light frequencies associated with VOC’s.

Optical gas imaging has been tested by EPA and has known to detect a leak with a mass rate of 1 gram per hour which is way below the minimum acceptable standards currently required.

–Sheetal Gawalpanchi

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