UKERC Energy Data Centre: Projects

Projects: Projects for Investigator
UKERC Home >> UKERC Energy Data Centre >> Projects >> Choose Investigator >> All Projects involving >> NIA_SGN0006
Reference Number NIA_SGN0006
Title Optomole
Status Completed
Energy Categories Fossil Fuels: Oil Gas and Coal(Oil and Gas, Refining, transport and storage of oil and gas) 100%;
Research Types Applied Research and Development 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Chemistry) 50%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering) 50%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Project Contact
No email address given
Cadent Gas
Award Type Network Innovation Allowance
Funding Source Ofgem
Start Date 01 March 2013
End Date 01 March 2016
Duration 36 months
Total Grant Value £285,940
Industrial Sectors Technical Consultancy
Region London
Programme Network Innovation Allowance
Investigators Principal Investigator Project Contact , Cadent Gas (99.998%)
  Other Investigator Project Contact , Northern Gas Networks (0.001%)
Project Contact , SGN (0.001%)
Web Site
Objectives The objective is to develop an all optical Tuneable Diode Laser Spectroscopy (TDLS) based methane sensing system that could provide an elegant and cost effective solution to this problem. Optosci has a current product (OptoSniff) which has proved its capability for optical gas leak detection. However it was developed as a fixed point detection system to monitor critical areas with large open spaces such as tunnels and control rooms. The system to be developed in this Project will utilise similar instrument technology applied in a new way, with a radically different fibre cabling configuration to make it suitable for passing through narrow utility ducts. The objectives and benefits of the technology would be to: Substantially improve the gas leak identification process and hence the integrity, safety and reliability of the gas network. Faster leak location reduces fugitive methane (a potent greenhouse gas) emissions to the atmosphereDeliver a completely safe method with no spark risk making it inherently safer for the workforce and publicProvide reductions in excavation and streetworksA technique that can be used with the minimal amount of training in order to give workforce flexibility Through-out the Project there will be monthly reports from Optosci to update all Project steering group members on the progress of the Project. There will be face to face meetings every 6-8 weeks and key deliverables reviews at key points with accountable parties clearly identified. Each stage will have its own deliverables and targets which the Project will measure itself and report on monthly as it progresses. When issues are identified recovery plans will be adopted to ensure minimal impact on time scales, and avoid additional costs. The Project seeks to deliver: A unit cost of £25kA no spark solutionConfidence that speed, manpower, excavation and streetworks disruption reductions can be achieved as compared to current methodsEase of use and a target maximum training of 4 hours for competent use of the equipmentSufficiently robust hardwareSuitability of the technique in duct environmentsDemonstrate it can produce objective leak occurrence and location information
Abstract Historically the method of locating escaping gas that has entered ducts such as Telecoms or TV cable ducts is to locate where the gas is escaping from the duct, then excavate to locate the escape, or the point where the gas is entering the ducts. The current method for leak location is to drill holes through the road at 1 meter intervals between the two nearest access points (usually via manholes some 30 meters apart) and perform a point detection until the gas leak location is found. This can take several days, causes significant transport disruption and results in high manpower and associated costs to rectify. Buried ducts across the country carry cables such as BT utilities, Cable TV, Broadband, Traffic systems and controls. As a known problem over the years, all networks have looked at the problem of duct gas source detection but owing to a number of reasons they have not been successful;Due to the small space available in the ducting,Ambient environment (the ducting often has water and mud in it),Potential spark / explosion risk from electrical sensors operating in a methane/air mixture. This Project investigates the possibility of identifying the location of gas entry into a duct by inserting a fiber optic gas sensor to locate the point of gas entry. The proposed solution would consist of an instrumentation and control unit which would be portable and robust enough to be moved from depot to van. A fibre optic cable bundle would connect to this unit and then "rodded" down the length of the ducting, perhaps 30 metres. Robustness of the cable is a key factor for the sensor cable design. Initially 6 sensors will be set at equidistant intervals in the cable which would detect the concentration of methane along its length. The control unit would pinpoint where highest concentration of methane exists. This will significantly reduce the number and size of excavations and speed up the repair of the gas escape. Having a collaborative Project allows all Networks to give their input to what is an industry issue. OptoSci’s solution to the problem is to develop an innovative thin optical sensing solution that can overcome the limited space available, cope with the conditions within the duct and give no risk of explosion or ignition. .Note : Project Documents may be available via the ENA Smarter Networks Portal using the Website link above
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 17/09/18