Picarro leak detection passes PG&E trial

Pipeline research council conducts tests cloud-based real time mobile leak detector.

An independent evaluation of pipeline leak detection technology conducted by the Pipeline Research Council International and Pacific Gas and Electric has proved the validity of Picarro’s pipeline leak detection technology. First announced last year (Oil IT Journal February 2012), Picarro’s ‘Surveyor’ field sensing system and ‘P-Cubed’ cloud-based processing platform detect the presence of minute traces of methane using patented ‘cavity ring-down spectroscopy’ techniques.

Tests on two controlled sites plus two real-world locations determined Picarro’s leak detection to be 1,000 times more sensitive than legacy methods. Comparison criteria included leak sensitivity, productivity and reporting capability. Two in-field trials located previously undetected leaks including seven grade 1 leaks that required an immediate response. P-Cubed analysis includes wind variation and atmospheric stability allowing operators to ‘sweep’ upwind for leaks.

Picarro Surveyor is an instrumentation and geo-informatics combo that operates from a moving vehicle, continuously transmitting data to the cloud. The system was originally developed for greenhouse gas detection and is used by atmospheric research institutions such as NASA and NOAA. Picarro’s isotopic technology is claimed to distinguish between natural gas and other sources of methane, such as sewers and landfills. More from Picarro and from PRCI.

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