Open Path Analyser and Leak Localisation for unconventional gas (OPALL)


University of Glasgow
Cascade Technologies

Start date:

May 2015


Until May 2016

Project abstract

Cascade Technologies is the world leader in the application of Quantum Cascade Lasers (QC Laser) for gas sensing. Its patented technology has been successfully applied to the field of gas sensing in the mid-infrared where molecules have characteristic unambiguous fingerprints, which can be used to identify and quantify gases with unparalleled accuracy, sensitivity and speed. Cascade’s sensors are deployed in numerous markets, including industrial process control, emission monitoring and homeland security.

This project sets out to develop and demonstrate a novel open path gas sensing platform capable of continuous and remote operation in harsh environments to monitor methane from unconventional gas extraction sites, e.g., coal bed methane. It will be based on the use of Quantum Cascade Lasers integrated in analysers previously developed for a security application. The systems will be tested and deployed in triangular arrangements at an unconventional gas extraction site, networked and coupled to data inversion algorithms in order to localise the source of possible fugitive emissions. Overall the project aims to address the high-level challenge of developing, safe, reliable and cost-effective technologies for emerging markets.

Project Impact

Successful development of the technology will lead to its adoption as best available technique by regulators and unconventional gas site operators.

This technology will have various social and environmental impacts on matters such as health and safety, environment and quality of life in industrial process settings. The gas sensing system targeted in this proposal will allow progress from point and limited aperture safety and process monitoring applications to wider ‘beyond-the-fence’ scenarios for regulators and environmental agencies.

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