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Abdel-Moati H.M.,ExxonMobil | Morris J.M.,Providence Photonics, Inc.
Institution of Chemical Engineers Symposium Series | Year: 2016

Identifying fugitive emissions from large scale LNG and gas processing and handling facilities is a time and resource intensive process. Because of the limitations of hand held gas detection devices, and the sheer size and complexity of these facilities, smaller leaks may go undetected and unintended releases may occur when plant personnel are not present or the area monitored. Reducing the total fugitive emissions from a large plant or a regional industry footprint could have an appreciable positive impact on the environment. Further, early detection of hydrocarbon leaks using a continuous monitoring system can reduce the risk of conditions that may lead to safety incidents that can result from unintended ignition of gas plumes. ExxonMobil Research Qatar and Providence Photonics have partnered since 2009 to develop the IntelliRed" Remote Gas Detection system that integrates computer vision algorithms and infrared (IR) technology to autonomously scan for and identify small leaks. Efficient identification of these emission sources can lead to better control and maintenance activities. A single sensor version of the technology utilizes a custom build component based IR camera and integrated cooler assembly, and a computer vision algorithm that analyses the video output from the IR imagers to determine the presence of hydrocarbon plumes. Most hydrocarbon plumes have strong absorption peaks in the narrow mid-wave IR region. The algorithm takes advantage of the difference in contrast between a hydrocarbon plume and the background in each pixel of an IR image and the temporal changes due to plume behavior for the analysis. The algorithm compares sequentially collected IR images and uses a multi-stage confirmation process to confirm the detection and has built-in filters that eliminate interferences like steam, and moving objects. Field tests indicate a 4 lb/hr propane leak could be autonomously detected from a distance of up to 800 feet. Also, rigorous field tests comparing the technology to point and path detectors showed successful detection of leaks, 300 feet away, that barely elicited a response from a point and path detector array only 5 feet away. A dual sensor version of the technology utilizes two cooled mid-wavelength IR (MWIR) sensors with a common optical path resulting in a differential infrared (DIR) camera. The infrared energy from the scene is split between two sensors and the spectral band pass filtering for the two sensors is chosen so that one sensor can see the hydrocarbon plume while the second sensor cannot. The two sensors are synchronized spatially and temporally to ensure that successive frames are aligned correctly. Image subtraction techniques are used to produce a differential image that eliminates the background, thus filtering out interferences such as dust and steam and allowing for leak detection while the system is in motion without the need for image stabilization. The IntelliRed™ technology was commercialized in 2014 and has since been deployed at 6 process facilities worldwide. Current research focus is to add quantification capability for use in upstream and downstream LDAR applications through an ongoing research partnership with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering. © 2016 IChemE.


Zeng Y.,Providence Photonics, Inc. | Morris J.,Providence Photonics, Inc. | Dombrowski M.,Surface Optics Corporation
Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association | Year: 2016

A new method has been developed for a direct and remote measurement of industrial flare combustion efficiency (CE). The method is based on a unique hyper-spectral or multi-spectral Infrared (IR) imager which provides a high frame rate, high spectral selectivity and high spatial resolution. The method can be deployed for short-term flare studies or for permanent installation providing real-time continuous flare CE monitoring. In addition to the measurement of CE, the method also provides a measurement for level of smoke in the flare flame regardless of day or night. The measurements of both CE and smoke level provide the flare operator with a real-time tool to achieve “incipient smoke point” and optimize flare performance. The feasibility of this method was first demonstrated in a bench scale test. The method was recently tested on full scale flares along with extractive sampling methods to validate the method. The full scale test included three types of flares – steam assisted, air assisted, and pressure assisted. Thirty-nine test runs were performed covering a CE range of approximately 60-100%. The results from the new method showed a strong agreement with the extractive methods (r2=0.9856 and average difference in CE measurement=0.5%). Implications: Because industrial flares are operated in the open atmosphere, direct measurement of flare combustion efficiency (CE) has been a long-standing technological challenge. Currently flare operators do not have feedback in terms of flare CE and smoke level, and it is extremely difficult for them to optimize flare performance and reduce emissions. The new method reported in this paper could provide flare operators with real-time data for CE and smoke level so that flare operations can be optimized. In light of EPA’s focus on flare emissions and its new rules to reduce emissions from flares, this policy-relevant development in flare CE monitoring is brought to the attention of both the regulating and regulated communities. © 2016 Providence Photonics.


Zeng Y.,Providence Photonics, Inc. | Sanders A.,Providence Photonics, Inc. | Morris J.,Providence Photonics, Inc.
Air and Waste Management Association - Air Quality Measurement Methods and Technology Conference 2016 | Year: 2016

This study has demonstrated that a static RF derived from Method 1 does not reflect the true characteristics of RF and therefore is not suitable for OGI and QOGI applications. For the same prerequisite information and comparable level of effort, RF can be significantly better predicted with Method 2. The most authoritative RF should be produced using Method 3. Between Methods 2 and 3, it is a tradeoff between accuracy and resources. In addition to the above conclusions regarding the RF methods, the following conclusions regarding the characteristics of RF can be drawn based on this study: (1) RF is not affected by AT; (2) RF is not static and it varies with concentration-pathlength product CL; (3) RF can vary significantly with CL when CL is low. The variability of RF decreases as the CL increases. After CL reaches a value higher than approximately 100,000 - 200,000 ppm-m range, the RF generally becomes constant and RF for all compounds tends to converge towards, but not equal to, the value of 1. This implies that the difference among different compounds becomes smaller and use of RF becomes less important as CL becomes very large. Because RF is a function of CL, one cannot be determined without the other. CL (or its derivative) is typically the target of the measurement and therefore unknown, so it is recommended that a set of agreed RF values be established as "standard RF" under one agreed reference CL level (e.g., 10,000 ppm-m). This approach should be practical for regulatory applications where all regulated communities will be subject to the same standardized RF. In this scenario, Method 2 is recommended to generate the standardized RF values for a wide range of compounds.


Patent
Providence Photonics, Inc. | Date: 2013-07-05

The calibration/verification system and method for gas imaging infrared cameras standardizes the procedures to objectively and consistently check performance of gas imaging infrared cameras. This system includes a background board maintaining a uniform temperature, a target cell filled with a target compound and disposed in front of the background board, a reference cell filled with a reference compound and disposed in front of the background board, and an analyzer coupled to the camera that captures images of the gas cell and the reference cell. The analyzer compares the intensity difference and the temperature difference of rays passing through the target cell and reference cell to a reference relationship data of a quality control chart to determine whether the camera is in a working condition. The method is further extended to provide a quantitative measurement of a hydrocarbon plume from a gas imaging infrared camera.


Patent
Providence Photonics, Inc. | Date: 2015-06-19

The calibration/verification system and method for gas imaging infrared cameras standardizes the procedures to objectively and consistently check performance of gas imaging infrared cameras. This system includes a background board maintaining a uniform temperature, a target cell filled with a target compound and disposed in front of the background board, a reference cell filled with a reference compound and disposed in front of the background board, and an analyzer coupled to the camera that captures images of the gas cell and the reference cell. The analyzer compares the intensity difference and the temperature difference of rays passing through the target cell and reference cell to a reference relationship data of a quality control chart to determine whether the camera is in a working condition. The method is further extended to provide a quantitative measurement of a hydrocarbon plume from a gas imaging infrared camera.


Patent
Providence Photonics, Inc. | Date: 2013-03-26

The multi-spectral imaging system for real-time measurement of combustion efficiency of an industrial flare is provided. The system includes four spectral bands, one for a hydrocarbon group (fuel), one for carbon dioxide (CO_(2)), product of complete combustion), one for carbon monoxide (CO, product of partially completed combustion), and one for background reference. More spectral bands can be added to measure combustion efficiency of specific compounds or enhance the background reference adjustment. The analysis apparatus includes a machine readable storage medium, which provides instructions that cause the analysis apparatus to perform operations to obtain the combustion efficiency of the flare. The operations includes acquiring at least three spatially and temporally synchronized intensities from an imaging unit capturing images of the flare, and producing the combustion efficiency of the flare from said at least three intensities, and absorption coefficients of materials contained in the flare.


Patent
Providence Photonics, Inc. | Date: 2015-05-21

An apparatus and method for validating a leak survey result obtained from an Optical Gas Imaging (OGI) device is proposed. The validation system is coupled to a gas detection infrared thermography camera that captures the infrared image of a scene which may or may not include a gas plume. The validation system performs operations to validate the leak survey result, which includes acquiring a background temperature of each pixel of the infrared image of the scene, acquiring a temperature of the gas plume or ambient air from a temperature sensor that is coupled to the validation system, calculating a temperature difference of said each pixel between the background temperature of said each pixel and the temperature of the gas plume or ambient air, comparing the temperature difference of said each pixel to a predetermined threshold value, and determining whether the leak survey result of the infrared thermography camera is valid based on the temperature difference of said each pixel.


Patent
Providence Photonics, Inc. | Date: 2015-10-07

As hydrogen sulfide is toxic and widely present in many oil and gas facilities, it is highly desirable to use an infrared camera to detect the presence of a hydrogen sulfide (H_(2)S) plume from a safe distance. The proposed are an imaging system and method for detecting hydrogen sulfide (H_(2)S) in a safe distance. The imaging system includes an infrared (IR) imager capable of capturing an image of a scene that includes a gas plume, and a narrow bandpass filter installed in the infrared imager. The narrow bandpass filter has a spectral window. A width of the spectral window is in the range of 100 nm to 300 nm. The spectral window is included in a wavelength range between 2.5 m and 2.8 m, a wavelength range between 1.5 m and 2.0 m, or a wavelength range between 7.0 m and 10.0 m.


Grant
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 79.85K | Year: 2013

There are approximately 7,000 flares in operation at industrial facilities across the U.S. Flares are one of the largest Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and air toxics emissions sources. Based on a special emission inventory required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in 2007, highly reactive VOC emissions from 28 flares located in 11 facilities in Harris County, Texas, where 1,469.5 tons in a year, which accounted for 60% of the emissions from the 11 facilities. Unlike stack emissions, there are no practical methods available to measure emission rate or control efficiency of flares. For air emission inventories, flares are assumed to have and efficiency of 98% when their operations meet the conditions codified in federal regulation (40 CFR§60.18). Many studies have shown that this 98% efficiency assumption may not be valid even when flares meet the regulatory requirements. This has been a critical issue facing regulatory agencies and industry because VOC and air toxics emission s from flares can make up more than 50% of emissions,assuming the 98% efficiency. If the actual flare efficiency varies, the emission inventory will be drastically different, causing large errors in air quality planning, compliance, health impact assessments, and associated decision making. §The proposed method uses a 4-band infrared (IR) imagerto determine relative concentrations of CO2, CO and hydrocarbons (HC) in the flare plume, and calculate flare efficiency in real-time. It would not only solve the problem of not being able to measure flare efficiency, but is will provide facility operators with real-time performance information needed to improve flare operations and minimize flare emissions. §The proposed Phase I work includes (1) using a laboratory hyper-spectral imager with video frame rate capabilities to image actual flares and select the best spectral windows for the proposed 4 band camera, and (2) performing a benchscale test using the same hyper-spectral imager as a surrogate to the 4-band camera and conventional analyzers for CO2, CO and hydrocarbons (HC) to validate the proposed method. The results of Phase I will prove the concept and determine design parameters for the proposal flare efficiency monitorto be constructed during Phase II. §Anticipated results of the proposed project will fill the void in flare efficiency monitoring for the estimated 7,000 flares in the United States. Potential environmental benefits include a reduction in VOC and air toxics emissions by tens of thousands of tons annually.


Grant
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 299.88K | Year: 2014

HJ Science & Technology, Inc. proposes a portable microfluidic automation technology capable of rapid and real time detection and identification of microcystins and other toxins produced by freshwater cyanobacteria (cyanotoxins). During blooms, many cyanotoxins in freshwater are known to cause damage to liver or damage to nerve axons and synapses. Though not strictly regulated, the EPA recommends the level of microcystins, cylindrospermopsins and anatoxins in drinking water not to exceed 1 ppb. Currently, cyanotoxin levels are monitored by collecting the samples are in the field and bringing them back to the laboratory for analysis. Compared with laboratory based methods, HJ Science & Technology’s portable onsite platform offers several important advantages, including reduction in time and cost, real-time data for better and more timely decision making, and reduction in reagent consumption. The heart of our innovation is a novel microfluidic device, consisting of novel microvalves and micropumps, with complete end-to-end assay automation capabilities. The proposed technology is inexpensive, easy to use, and designed to perform rapid cyanotoxin detections with sensitivity and specificity that are only currently achievable with laboratory-based instruments. In Phase I, HJ Science & Technology established the technical feasibility of the proposed technology by successfully fabricating microfluidic devices and performing automated immunoassay for microcystin in water samples. Specifically, microcystin standard curves with a limit of detection of 0.16 ppb were generated. The results are in excellent agreement with the manually prepared commercial ELISA kit.During the Phase II effort, HJ Science & Technology will design and build a field-deployable portable instrument with microfluidic automation capable of performing onsite monitoring and detection of microcystin and other cyanotoxins. During the Phase II commercialization option, the company will deploy its instrument for field testing at Pinto Lake Pinto Lake, a nearby popular recreational spot, which has been plagued with seasonal algal blooms that release microcystin and other deadly toxins. As such, the field deployable instrument will be specifically designed and constructed to meet the challenging requirement of onsite environmental monitoring. In Phase III, HJ Science & Technology will begin manufacturing for the commercial market. The key target audiences include resource managers, public health officials, and aquaculture facilities.

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