Santa Clara, CA, United States
Santa Clara, CA, United States

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Patent
Picarro Inc. | Date: 2012-08-01

Improved gas analysis for non-gaseous samples is provided by placing the sample in direct contact with an inductive heating element, followed by inductively heating the heating element to provide gas for analysis. Disposable sample vials including such a heating element can be employed, or a sample tube including an inductive heating element can be configured to mate to the input gas line of a gas analysis system.


Improved gas leak detection from moving platforms is provided. Automatic horizontal spatial scale analysis can be performed in order to distinguish a leak from background levels of the measured gas. Source identification can be provided by using two or more tracer measurements of isotopic ratios and/or chemical tracers to distinguish gas leaks from other sources of the measured gas. Multi-point measurements combined with spatial analysis of the multi-point measurement results can provide leak source distance estimates. Qualitative source identification is provided. These methods can be practiced individually or in any combination.


Repeated simultaneous concentration measurements at spatially separated points are used to provide information on the lateral spatial extent of a gas plume. More specifically the spatial correlations in this data provide this information. Fitting a gas plume model directly to this multi-point data can provide good estimates of total plume emission. The distance between the plume source and the measurement points does not need to be known to provide these estimates. It is also not necessary to perform any detailed atmospheric modeling. These estimates of the lateral spatial extent of a gas plume can also be used to provide a distance estimate to the source of the gas plume.


A gas concentration image (i.e., concentration vs. position data) in a cross section through a gas plume is obtained. Such measurements can be obtained by using a 2D array of gas sample inlets, or by moving a 1D array of gas sample inlets through the gas plume. By combining a gas concentration image with ambient flow information through the surface of the gas concentration image, the leak rate (i.e., gas flux) from the leak source can be estimated. Gas samples are simultaneously acquired by filling two or more gas sample storage chambers. This is the default operation mode, which is convenient to regard as recording mode. The other operating mode is a playback mode, where the gas samples in the gas sample storage chamber are sequentially provided to a gas analysis instrument. Gas collection via line pixels can be used to compensate for vertical wind speed variation.


Improved gas leak detection from moving platforms is provided. Automatic horizontal spatial scale analysis can be performed in order to distinguish a leak from background levels of the measured gas. Source identification can be provided by using isotopic ratios and/or chemical tracers to distinguish gas leaks from other sources of the measured gas. Multi-point measurements combined with spatial analysis of the multi-point measurement results can provide leak source distance estimates. Qualitative source identification is provided. These methods can be practiced individually or in any combination.


In some embodiments, a natural gas leak detection system generates display content including indicators of remote and local potential leak source areas situated on a map of an area of a gas concentration measurement survey performed by a vehicle-borne device. The remote area may be shaped as a wedge extending upwind from an associated gas concentration measurement point. The local area graphically represents a potential local leak source area situated around the gas concentration measurement point, and having a boundary within a predetermined distance (e.g. 10 meters) of the gas concentration measurement point. The local area may be represented as a circle, ellipse, or other shape, and may include an area downwind from the measurement point. Size and/or shape parameters of the local area indicator may be determined according to survey vehicle speed and direction data, and/or wind speed and direction data characterizing the measurement point.


A gas concentration image (i.e., concentration vs. position data) in a cross section through a gas plume is obtained. Such measurements can be obtained by moving a 1D array of gas sample inlets through the gas plume. By combining a gas concentration image with ambient flow information through the surface of the gas concentration image, the leak rate (i.e., gas flux) from the leak source can be estimated. Multiple gas analysis instruments can be employed in connection with sweeping a 1-D array of measurement ports through the gas plume in order to reduce analysis time.


This work provides event selection in the context of gas leak pinpointing using mobile gas concentration and atmospheric measurements. The main idea of the present approach is to use a moving minimum to estimate background gas concentration, as opposed to the conventional use of a moving average for this background estimation.


Patent
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Picarro Inc. | Date: 2015-05-18

Optical spectrometer apparatus, systems, and methods for analysis of carbon-14 including a resonant optical cavity configured to accept a sample gas including carbon-14, an optical source configured to deliver optical radiation to the resonant optical cavity, an optical detector configured to detect optical radiation emitted from the resonant cavity and to provide a detector signal; and a processor configured to compute a carbon-14 concentration from the detector signal, wherein computing the carbon-14 concentration from the detector signal includes fitting a spectroscopic model to a measured spectrogram, wherein the spectroscopic model accounts for contributions from one or more interfering species that spectroscopically interfere with carbon-14.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 148.88K | Year: 2011

Measurements of 14C or radiocarbon enables fundamental approaches forelucidating the impact of climate and land use change on the carbon cycle including carbon storage and turnover/residence times and the impact of these changes on atmospheric CO2 levels. In addition, in the field of atmospheric greenhouse gas monitoring, radiocarbon analysis has emerged as a gold standard for distinguishing petrogenic carbon from other atmospheric sources and sinks of carbon. Radiocarbon data can provide key input into carbon cycle models, and would also allow direct and unambiguous verification of international, national, and regional carbon dioxide emissions reporting. The presence of 14C at one part in a trillion in contemporary environmental samples represents a significant measurement challenge. Currently only accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) has the proven sensitivity and accuracy to accomplish this with mg sized or smaller carbon samples. However, the high cost (~$1.5 2M), sophistication (requiring dedicated full-time technical staff), and footprint ( & gt 10 m2 of dedicated laboratory space) of this technology have limited its wide-spread deployment. Via the DOE Phase I and II SBIR programs, we propose to develop a commercial product based on mid-infrared cavity ring down spectroscopy that is capable of quantifying 14C with a 0.1% precision from atmospheric or terrestrial carbon samples. This technology would be less expensive ($250k) than AMS, simpler to operate and maintain, and would occupy the space of a single 19 rack. Collectively, these characteristics would make sensitive 14C analyses broadly available to the research community and would revolutionize its use in addressing research questions in environmental and carbon cycle research. Other important applications include biomedical research and archaeological dating. We conservatively predict that within 5 years after the completion of Phase II, this product would command yearly sales of $80M / yr across all applications.

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