Natural gas is abundant, affordable, and its major component, methane, is the cleanest burning of the hydrocarbons. It is used to power heating systems and appliances for 178 million Americans, making safety and leak detection a key priority for distribution utilities across the country.
Defining the Distribution Sector
The primary function of distribution companies is to market and deliver finished products to customers. Natural gas is delivered to households and businesses through thousands of miles of small-diameter distribution pipe. End users include residential neighborhoods, commercial buildings, municipalities, and industrial customers.
Challenges Facing the Distribution Sector
Corporate sustainability commitments, portfolio investors, and the public are driving this sector to embrace greener policies and continually focus on safe working and operating environments. Distribution utilities are laser-focused on safety for their ground crews, communities, and end customers. Companies seek ways to avoid exposing ground crews to emissions as much as possible, with safety being a crucial aspect of operations.
Many distribution companies use ground crews equipped with handheld devices to survey the service area by vehicle or by foot, making leak identification time consuming and resource intensive. Depending on the location and state regulations, some distribution companies need to conduct leak surveys on a defined, recurring schedule. This is costly and can be inefficient as large areas of the infrastructure may not have leaks yet ground crews must perform the scans across their entire area rather than focusing on repairing large leaks.
Low emission thresholds are established to ensure both large and small emissions are found during surveys. The leak detection and repair (LDAR) technology deployed must be able to be calibrated to a high sensitivity level to detect smaller amounts of methane. The LDAR sensitivity level can mean the difference between finding or missing a methane leak.
Gas Mapping LiDAR™ Serving the Distribution Sector
Bridger’s Gas Mapping LiDAR uses highly sensitive laser technology to help distribution utilities detect and pinpoint small methane emissions to keep workers and communities safe. Our state-of-the-art aerial laser technology allows utilities to survey large service areas more frequently, so they can repair leaks and reduce overall methane emissions more efficiently. Applying our data analytics and proprietary algorithms provides actionable information so that ground crews are put to the best possible use repairing rather than looking for emissions.
Gas Mapping LiDAR helps utilities focus on:
Safety - Gas Mapping LiDAR helps distribution utility customers detect, pinpoint, and quantify methane leaks so that the leak repair can be prioritized by emission amount, improving safety for workers and communities. The nature of aerial LiDAR also results in less exposure to potential hazards for ground crews.
Efficiency - Gas Mapping LiDAR helps clients make more efficient use of their ground crew resources. Rather than sending ground crews to survey entire swaths of service areas to hunt for leaks, they can be sent directly to the areas where emissions exist to mitigate the issue. The nature of aerial detection also allows utilities to scan a larger percentage of their service area faster than ground crews, creating a more efficient way to cover large or difficult-to-access areas than by foot or vehicle.
Sensitivity - Gas Mapping LiDAR sensitively detects, pinpoints, and quantifies methane emissions. A recent study conducted by Carleton University found that Gas Mapping LiDAR was able to achieve 2.9 kg/hr (150 scfh) detection sensitivity, with 90% probability of detection in typical production basins. This level of sensitivity can be increased and calibrated for distribution clients based on their specific needs and methane reduction objectives. Controlled release studies we've performed indicate that with an unobstructed view, our detection sensitivity is 25 scfh (~0.5 kg/hr) with 95% probability of detection for our distribution clients.
Looking for Methane Emissions LDAR for Your Distribution Utility?
At Bridger Photonics, we work with companies to meet their safety and emissions goals while providing a streamlined solution with unmatched sensitivity for aerial leak detection. Are you ready to detect, locate, and quantify your methane emissions? Fill out our contact form now.