Innovation Anthology

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Program ID: Innovation Anthology #890
Program Date: 08/29/2017
Program Category: Alberta, Energy, Engineering

Chris Apps: C-FER Evaluates New Aerial Pipeline Surveillance Technology

It's one thing to fly over pipeline right of ways to visually check for oil leaks.

But new technologies could allow pipeline companies to do much better, and that's means detecting underground leaks before they reach the surface.

Chris Apps is a Research Engineer at C-FER Technologies.  His group is testing new modes of aerial pipeline surveillance. 

The two main mechanisms they are using, one is looking for temperature changes at the surface caused by a leak.  And the other is looking for concentrations of volatile organic compounds.  So actually looking for vapours that have made their way to the surface.    And then there's  also flame ionization detection, so looking for vapours  with lasers and such. There's a few different methods.  The advantages, of course, are then you don't have to see the big slick.  It can be earlier warning than that.    And the other advantage to the airborne technology over the cable base that we talked about is, of course, retrofitting is a non issue.  You just fly over the pipeline and you can upgrade your technology on the airplane periodically.   

According to Chris Apps, industry partners in this joint evaluation project include Enbridge, TransCanada and Kinder-Morgan.

Thanks today to Alberta Innovates

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