Sep 2016
Gas Distribution
I-0052 Optomole Phase 4
Sep 2016
Jan 2018
National Grid Gas Distribution, Northern Gas Networks and Wales and West Utilities
NGGD – Adam Hassall (Lead Network), WWU- David Rees, NGN- Josh Hampshire
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Network Innovation Allowance
Gas Distribution Networks
The scope of the project is to widen the use of the system to four units and fully trained Networks Operatives to field trial pre-production models, learn from feedback and data analysis to improve final systems. This will also allow the development of training material and business case development.

The project will cover:

  • Modifications to the OptoMole system
  • Training with Gas Escape Teams at GDN Depots
  • Preparation of system support documentation
  • Manufacture of OptoMole systems and supply to GDN partners
  • GDN field trials/testing
  • Continual assessment of GDN field trial results & system feedback
  • Conduct additional OptoMole system R&D
  • Preparation of OptoMole system documentation as per GDN G23 requirements
  • Assessment of implementation requirements
  • Preparation of GB Network Business Case

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 distributors
  • Faster gas leak location reduces fugitive methane (a potent greenhouse gas) emissions to the atmosphere
  • Reduced fugitive gas emissions and all optical sensing technique with no spark risk makes it inherently safer for the workforce and public
  • No 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.