Lighting Specialist Applies Technology to Mine, Ship, Facility Safety,
Potential Customers Include Tote Ship Converter/Builder GD Nassco
Connecticut’s RSL Fiber Systems has adapted its technology for lighting to spectroscopy-based methane detection, which it says is fully passive for both detection and transmission of data, and doesn’t have the problems, such as EMI (electromagnetic interference) of competing systems. updated March 28
RSL Fiber Systems methane detection sensor unit
What’s more, the company says, the fiber-optic detector detectors don’t share the problem of failing to react when methane concentrations become too high, as can occur in an emergency situation.
As RSL recently explained to the U.S. Coast Guard, “a number of methane detectors such as the catalytic type will not detect methane when the concentration exceeds the upper flammable limit (UFL) of 15%-17%.
Self-Calibrating, with No Power Needed at the Sensors
“An LNG leak in a confined space may exceed the UFL rapidly, faster than the detector sampling rate,” RSL says.
“Our system measures from zero up to 100% because it uses spectroscopy,” says RSL president and CTO Giovanni Tomasi.
“Fixed gas detectors can be installed in the proximity of equipment most likely to have gas leaks,” the company says, and “can be networked to a control center that monitors the methane level, calibrates the sensors remotely, and verifies the integrity of the sensing cells.”
RSL’s fiber-optic methane sensing system was initially developed for use in coal mines under a grant from NIOSH, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.
The technology, RSL says, “is being adapted to detect gas leaks on machinery with LNG-powered propulsion systems and on LNG and FLNG processing operations. Since the system uses a low power laser and detectors located outside of the sensing area, with no electrical cables or electrical power at the sensing cells in the zones where gas is being detected, it continues to operate even in the event that power in the machinery space is shut off.
Energy E&P Potential Too
“The gas sensing cells self-calibrate every time a measurement is taken and continue to function accurately even 90% blocked by dirt and contaminants,” states an RSL summary. “System sensitivity from 0.025% to 100% methane concentrations insures the full range of detection.” The RSL package also include data logging.
Potential marine customers include GD Nassco, Tomasi told HHP Insight. GD Nassco is the San Diego company that’s converting two large Tote container ships to LNG dual fuel operation and is building two new ones.
Tomasi also sees a market in the energy exploration and production sector as methane emissions come under increasing scrutiny behind greenhouse gas concerns.
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Source: RSL Fiber Systems with HHP Insight follow-up