ABB Customer World: A quantum leap in leak detection


HOUSTON -- When it comes to transporting natural gas (methane), pipelines offer the safest option. But preserving safety means constant vigilance for the pipeline operator, and a reliance on detection systems to pinpoint leaks.

Traditional methods require technicians to walk the length of the pipeline in question using slow and insensitive instruments that take upwards of 30-45 min. to self-calibrate before they are ready to begin work. This time-consuming process is further hampered by the fact that conventional reporting systems are paper-based.

Clearly, there is an opportunity for a better approach, and ABB has developed just that. Their ABB Ability Mobile Leak Detection natural gas leak detection system is based on proprietary technology that can detect methane at concentrations up to 3,000 times smaller than conventional methods. It uses a combination of sensors and analytic software to incorporate data from multiple streams (e.g., gas concentration, wind speed and direction) to pinpoint the origin of gas leaks in record time.

Vehicle-based solutions can survey 10 to 25 times more area per hour than traditional approaches, so ABB Ability Mobile Leak Detection was designed from the outset to work from a mobile platform such as cars, ATVs, aircraft or large drones. ABB Ability Mobile Leak Detection can take reliable measurements at highway speeds and predict leak locations from the street. ABB Ability Mobile Leak Detection can even distinguish pipeline gas from other methane sources.

The reporting process is also made simple with data sharing via the Cloud as soon as the system records it. Once a leak is detected and the location identified, the information can be immediately downloaded to a mobile app that authorized personnel can use to find it again.

ABB Ability Mobile Leak Detection represents a major advance in the cost, speed and accuracy of natural gas leak detection. For more information about this exciting technology, visit section S4 in the Service area of the Technology & Solution Center.




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