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PN FGD-TWP-Ultrasonic-Gas-Leak-Detection

March 2015
White Paper

Ultrasonic Gas Leak Detection


– Your First Line of Defense

Introduction:
An “emerging” sensing technology has recently taken its place as a field-proven solution in
the gas detection industry. For many years now, detecting combustible gas leaks has been
accomplished through the use of catalytic bead and infrared point detectors along with open
path infrared perimeter detectors. We can now greatly extend the coverage provided by those
solutions, as well as overcome some of their serious limitations, through the use of ultrasonic
gas sensing technology.

Ultrasonic technology has been around since the early 1930’s. Shortly after WWII researchers
in Japan began to explore the medical diagnostics capability of ultrasound. Needless to say, a
new era in modern technology had begun. In the past 20 years ultrasonic sensing has become
the leading standard in many different industries, including gas measurement for custody
transfer and, of course, leak detection.

Why is leak detection so important? Leak detection is your first line of defense against any toxic
or combustible gas leak in the event of defective seals or gaskets, valve misalignment, or failure
of flanges or other equipment.

Advantages to using ultrasonic leak detectors:


ƒƒ Detects gas leak before a hazardous concentration is present
ƒƒ Not affected by any adverse weather conditions
ƒƒ The gas cloud does not have to make contact with the sensor in order for detection to take
place
ƒƒ Detection is instantaneous for all types of gas leak (toxic or combustible)
ƒƒ Not affected by wind direction
ƒƒ Not affected by noisy environments (audible noise is not an issue)
ƒƒ Wide area coverage with a single unit (up to 40 meter radius)
continued...
Challenges
ƒƒ Not suited for detecting very low pressure leaks (below 30 psi)
ƒƒ Cannot distinguish what is leaking, e.g. air/nitrogen/methane
ƒƒ Time delays must be properly configured
19.5M for pressure releases, etc
15.5M
74DB BACKGROUND NOISE
There are only two types of ultrasonic leak detectors110on
˚ the market today. The first utilizes traditional ultrasonic
DETECTION ENVELOPE

sensing technology through the use of a moving metal diaphragm (microphone) that requires
ENVELOPEfrequent calibration
84DB BACKGROUND NOISE
DETECTION

8.3M
and periodic replacement. Because of its design, mounting orientation is also limited and it can be affected by

6.6M
temperature changes. This unit also has a single sensor element that covers a max range of a 12 meter radius with
medium background noise

3M
Pressurized Gas Release Response Levels — Detect • Distinguish • Defend

5M
The latest GROUND
ultrasonic sensing technologies uses a resonant sensor. The active element is a piezo-electric material
Pressurized
LEVEL Gas Release Response Levels — Detect • Distinguish • Defend
(which converts mechanical deformation into electrical voltage) embedded in a ceramic medium. These sensors
Pressurized 15.5M
EXPLOSION
an extremely highExplosive
chemical Cloud and aToxic
wideCloud Liquid
15.5M
have resistance frequency range 19.5Mresponse band. The unit can be mounted
Gas Leak
Pressurized Formation
Explosive
19.5M
Formation
Toxic Cloud Accumulation
Liquid EVENT
EXPLOSION
in any orientation
Gas Leak required for theCloud
Formationapplication. Its Formation
sensor design has noAccumulation moving parts so wear and tear is completely
CANNOT TRAVEL THROUGH EVENT
eliminated. The Emerson Incus Ultrasonic Gas Leak Detector
SOLID WALLS is equipped with four of these sensors, which covers a
AND OBJECTS

max range of 40 meters radius from the detector! In addition, each unit leaves the factory calibrated High for life and will
Pressure
IGNITION
neverIGNITION
expire. There is no zeroing or calibration required and no consumptive sensor elements to Jet Fireever.
replace,
High Pressure
Jet Fire

IGNITION Wide Area


Explosive
Wide Area Fire
IGNITION
Figure 1 - Diagram Showing the Coverage of Emerson’s Ultrasonic Gas Leak Detector. Explosive Fire
IGNITION Deep Pool
IGNITION
IGNITION Fuel
Deep Fire
Pool
Fuel Fire
WIND DIRECTION

Ultrasonic
DETECT
DETECT DISTINGUISH
Gas Leak
DISTINGUISH
Detector
DEFEND
DEFEND
Ultrasonic Gas Fixed Combustible
Point Gas Fixed Toxic Optical
Ultrasonic
Leak Gas
Detection Fixed Combustible
Detector
Gas Detection Fixed
Gas Toxic Open Path (Line of Sight)
Detection Optical
Flame Detection
Leak Detection Gas Detection Gas Detection Gas Detection Flame Detection
RESPONSE LEVEL 1 RESPONSE LEVEL 2 RESPONSE LEVEL 2 RESPONSE LEVEL 3
RESPONSE LEVEL 1 RESPONSE LEVEL 2 RESPONSE LEVEL 2 RESPONSE LEVEL 3
80 M - No background noise

40 M - 74DB background noise

Audible
AudibleSound
Sound00KHz
KHzto
to20
20KHz
KHz -- Turbines, motors,and
Turbines, motors, and GDU-Incus Detection
Incus Detection RangeRange
compressors
compressorsgenerate
generatewithin
within this
this frequency range
frequency range Ultrasonic Sound2525KHz
Ultrasonic Sound KHzto to
100100
KHzKHz

Human
HumanHearing
Hearing Range
Range BeyondHuman
Beyond HumanHearing
Hearing Range
Range

As industry evolves, so does the demand for non-conventional fuel sources which will continue to push the natural
gas industry to its limits. At the end of the day, production will continue to grow, fueled by environmental legislation
Pressurized Gas Release
and demand for cleaner, higher gradeResponse Levelson
fuels. Rising pressure —non-conventional
Detect • Distinguish • Defend
production will go hand in hand
with a comprehensive approach to safety. New facilities should be designed with the latest safeguards from potential
hazards; old facilities should
Pressurized be revisited
Explosive Cloud to ensure sufficient
Toxic Cloud coverage is in Liquid
place are to minimizeEXPLOSION
abnormal safety
Gas Leak
events and limit downtime. Formation Formation Accumulation EVENT
continued...

IGNITION High Pressure


Jet Fire

IGNITION Wide Area


Explosive Fire
2
IGNITION Deep Pool
Fuel Fire
Safety systems that deploy a diverse range of detection technologies can counteract the serious impacts of gas
leaks and the potential for fire and explosions. Preventing equipment or property damage, production downtime,
personal injury, and even loss of life is critical to any plant's ongoing operational directives. A combination of Emerson
ultrasonic leak detectors, gas monitors, and flame detectors is particularly effective because they are entirely
complementary and cover the three defense level of detection. The first stage is the immediate leak stage, the second
is during the gas cloud formation or accumulation stage, and the third is during the ignition stage.

Figure 2 - Pressurized Gas Release Episode - Event Effect Defence


Pressurized Gas Release Response Levels — Detect • Distinguish • Defend

Pressurized Explosive Cloud Toxic Cloud Liquid EXPLOSION


Gas Leak Formation Formation Accumulation EVENT

IGNITION High Pressure


Jet Fire

IGNITION Wide Area


Explosive Fire

IGNITION
IGNITION Deep Pool
Fuel Fire

DETECT DISTINGUISH DEFEND


Ultrasonic Gas Fixed Combustible Fixed Toxic Optical
Leak Detection Gas Detection Gas Detection Flame Detection
RESPONSE LEVEL 1 RESPONSE LEVEL 2 RESPONSE LEVEL 2 RESPONSE LEVEL 3

The vulnerabilities of any one detection solution are offset by the strengths of the others when utilizing this
comprehensive approach to coverage, so hazards have fewer chances of propagating undetected. Such diverse safety
systems, combined with a design that mitigates leakage and eliminates possible ignition sources, provides a sound
approach for delivering reliable coverage in any hazardous industrial environment. Emerson is driven to insuring that
Audible Sound 0 KHz to 20 KHz - Turbines, motors, and Incus Detection Range
our customers have thegenerate
compressors most advanced andfrequency
within this comprehensive
range flame, gas, ultrasonic, and oil25
Ultrasonic Sound mist detection
KHz technology
to 100 KHz
available in order to protect life, property, and productivity.

Human Hearing Range Beyond Human Hearing Range

3
HEADQUARTERS
Emerson Process Management
Flame & Gas Detection
2721 Hopewell Place NE
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T1Y 7J7
T +1 (403) 219 0688
T +1 866 347 3427
F +1 (403) 219 0694

safety.csc@emerson.com
www.emersonprocess.com/safety

© Emerson Process Management. 2015

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