Methane leak detection for a cleaner and safer environment

Methane is the primary component of natural gas, so it is readily found in the environment and used in a diverse range of applications. Methane is flammable and combustible with oxygen with a lower explosion limit of 5% in volume only, and as it has no color or odor and can seep in through cracks, gas networks safety is a challenging task. For example, In the US, there are 300 destructive gas events each year since 1998. In tests conducted in New York State by Con Edison, the installation of methane leak detectors generated 264 alarms. Methane leak detection is very effective: in New York State alone, almost as many leaks are detected as there are explosions in the entire country. In some countries, as in Japan since the 60s, it is compulsory to install gas detectors in all housing equipped with gas to avoid explosions.

The solution is to monitor networks in real time using connected sensors and dynamic simulation tools. Sensors installed along the network can transmit data regularly and indicate when alarm thresholds (gas concentration, vibration, temperature, pressure…) are exceeded, to ensure the smooth operation of the gas transmission network. By leveraging the rise of connected sensors and low power wireless networks, gas utility companies can significantly reduce gas leaks on their distribution network.

The collected data can be used to develop predictive maintenance algorithms too. The objectives of this approach are numerous: anticipate failures on the system, reduce costs associated with repairs, maintain performance, and avoid unnecessary interventions.

Residential & industrial methane gas detector for indoor & outdoor applications

With these objectives in mind, eLichens has developed a gas leak detector, Avolta, that communicates on the Wize radio protocol. It is thus able to work in combination with gas meters such as Gazpar, the Smart Meter developed by GRDF, n°1 gas distributor in France, subsidiary of the Engie Group. Thanks to the use of the Wize radio protocol, the detector has sufficient range to report data from basements, cellars or deep indoor locations.

Avolta is a ready-to-use natural gas leak detector, embedding eLichens’ patented NDIR dual-channel CH4NB (narrow-band) sensor. This proprietary gas sensor can detect Methane with an ultra-high selectivity, and thus avoid false positives. This cuts down the cost of interventions (firefighters and gas utilities) due to false alarms. In addition, it can monitor low levels of methane, thus allowing utilities to take appropriate decisions in line with the nature of the leak.

eLichens’ Avolta features a battery autonomy of 10+ years thanks to its ultra-low power gas sensor and the integration of the Wize radio protocol. It is wireless and battery-operated, so it can be installed everywhere. The absence of need for recalibration and the long lifespan of the eLichens sensor makes it ideal for applications of gas leak detection in both residential and industrial market. Its 10+ years of autonomy on battery and its high gas selectivity provides Avolta the lowest cost-of-ownership on the market.

Avolta enables gas utility companies to make the environment safer for citizens and workers by dramatically reducing the number of casualties and ultimately saving lives.

To discover eLichens, check this video.