Natural Gas Monitoring Network to Detect Natural Gas Leaks

Opportunity

Available for Licensing

IP Status

US Utility Patent Pending (Not Yet Published)

Inventors

Jerry Duggan
Riley Ancona
Younki Cho
Katherine Smits

At A Glance

​Researchers at Colorado State University in collaboration with the University of Texas, Arlington have developed a gas monitoring network and deployment method for detecting natural gas leaks from buried natural gas infrastructures within residential, commercial, rural, and industrial areas. The method of deployment involves placing the sensor systems indoor and outdoor environments in distinct patterns, providing early warning or long-term monitoring of natural gas leaks via wireless communication.  Each detector consists of a system of sensors to collect real time (every 1 second) data and communicate this data to a cloud data base, first responders, or utility companies.

For more detail, please contact our office.

Licensing Director

Mandana Ashouri
Mandana.Ashouri@colostate.edu
970-491-7100

Reference No.: 2020-005

Background

​Natural gas (NG) pipeline safety has greatly improved in recent decades. Nevertheless, leakage incidents still occur, oftentimes associated with aging infrastructure, excavation, and human error. Pipeline leakage can be catastrophic due to buildup and migration through subsurface environments and ultimately its release into the air or a substructure (e.g. basement, French drains, sewer lines). 

Although recent technology advances in methane detection have improved leak detection and repair, efforts are hampered in subsurface pipeline scenarios due to the complex nature and extent of such leaks. Soil layers and other subsurface infrastructure above and around a leaking pipeline markedly affect subsurface NG migration. 

Once a leak is detected, further investigation determines the significance of the leak, depending on the probable hazard to persons or property.  Although the exact definition of Type 1-3 leaks varies based on state requirements, in general, a “hazardous leak” is a gas leak that poses an existing or probable hazard to persons or property and requires immediate action (usually immediate repair). Leaks deemed non-hazardous to people or property at the time of detection require periodic surveillance, reevaluation, and ultimately scheduled repair. 

Although practices are in place to reevaluate existing leaks, current guidance relies on reevaluation during regular survey periods which can be every 6 months to a year. A major concern of natural gas detection and repair teams is the potential for the conditions of a gas leak to worsen substantially prior to reevaluation; thus, there is an urgent need for the ability to remotely monitor existing gas leaks over time. 

Even though some NG detectors are commercially available, they are not practical for use in pipeline gas monitoring systems due to cost, data accessibility, deployment method, and integration of data gathered from multiple locations.

Benefits
  • Safeguard against potential hazards
  • Provide early warning of leak and monitor existing leaks
  • Continuous real-time monitoring detector network
  • Improve efficiency of surveys
  • Improve reliability of gas concentration data
  • Continuous surveillance of potentially hazardous areas
  • Practical in pipeline gas monitoring systems

Last updated: June 2020

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