go to top scroll for more


Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number NIA_NGGD0087
Title I-0052 Optomole Phase 4
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 (General Engineering and Mineral & Mining 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 September 2016
End Date 01 June 2017
Duration 9 months
Total Grant Value £236,937
Industrial Sectors Technical Consultancy
Region London
Programme Network Innovation Allowance
Investigators Principal Investigator Project Contact , Cadent Gas (99.998%)
  Other Investigator Project Contact , Wales and West Utilities (0.001%)
Project Contact , Northern Gas Networks (0.001%)
Web Site http://www.smarternetworks.org/project/NIA_NGGD0087
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. This would substantially decrease the gas leak location and reinstatement costs and time, as well as limiting the associated fugitive greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. Using this technology could: Substantially improve the gas leak identification process and hence the integrity, safety and reliability of the gas network. Significantly reduce the gas leak identification and repair time. Decrease the overall cost of leak identification and repair cost for gas distributorsFaster gas leak location reduces fugitive methane (a potent greenhouse gas) emissions to the atmosphereReduced fugitive gas emissions and all optical sensing technique with no spark risk makes it inherently safer for the workforce and publicNo major excavation work required prior to locating the gas leak, hence minimising transport disruption There are four main successes that will be achieved during this phase: OptoMole system will be raised TRL 8 & operating reliably as a standard GDN tool for faster location of gas in duct leaks. GDN gas escape teams will be competent in operation of OptoMole and interpretation of results. GDN gas escape teams convinced of OptoMole value for Early Response Surveying of gas in duct escapes. Sufficient data gathered during project to support a convincing Business Case for GDN adoption of technology for "Business As Usual" implementation.
Abstract Historically the method of locating escaping gas that has entered ducts such as Telecoms or TV cable ducts is to locate where the as 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 ductingAmbient environment (the ducting often has water and mud in it)Potential spark / explosion risk from electrical sensors operating in a methane/air mixture Phase 4 of the OptoMole project follows on directly from the original three phases of the project which successfully concluded in March 2016. Phase Four of the project will be the development stage of the OptoMole system, which will be further developed from TRL 6 to TRL 8. GDN gas escape teams will be trained to use the equipment, and a number of systems will be supplied to allow the GDN teams to use OptoMole to investigate live gas in duct escapes on a daily basis. The substantial data and feedback from these trials will form a key part of the parallel Phase Four development of an OptoMole Business Case for future "Business As Usual" system implementation across the Networks. As part of this phase a small number of units will be supplied to the GDNs, so that operators (trained by OptoSci) can use the OptoMole system on a daily basis. This will provide vital system feedback to guide further technical development and methods of GDN operational implementation. It will also supply accurate support data for the system value proposition when building the full business case for the GDNs to aid the future adoption of the technology.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 21/08/18