Mar 2013
Gas Distribution
Mar 2013
Mar 2016
SGN, National Grid Gas Distribution and Northern Gas Networks
Alex Stewart, Innovation Project Manager
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Network Innovation Allowance
GD - Safety and emergency
Gas Distribution Networks
The purpose of this Project is to develop a mobile, optical methane sensing system that Gas Network Licensees can utilise to quickly and accurately detect the location of natural gas leaks in ducts.

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 atmosphere
  • Deliver a completely safe method with no spark risk making it inherently safer for the workforce and public
  • Provide reductions in excavation and streetworks
  • A 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 £25k

  • A no spark solution

  • Confidence that speed, manpower, excavation and streetworks disruption reductions can be achieved as compared to current methods

  • Ease of use and a target maximum training of 4 hours for competent use of the equipment

  • Sufficiently robust hardware · Suitability of the technique in duct environments

  • Demonstrate it can produce objective leak occurrence and location information.