Highly Sensitive Sensor for Distributed Methane Leak Detection

Organization: Argonne National Laboratory
Co-Developer(s): University of Illinois at Chicago, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Aclima Inc.
Year: 2016

Methane is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted to the atmosphere in the U.S. due to human activities. One of the sources of that methane is the production, processing, storage, transmission and distribution of natural gas. The Highly Sensitive Sensor for Distributed Methane Leak Detection monitors methane gas at the single parts per million level and is designed to be used throughout the natural gas extraction and distribution infrastructure, such as wells, production pads, and transmission and distribution pipelines. It consists of multiwalled carbon nanotubes functionalized with a zinc oxide nanocrystal layer formed by atomic layer deposition, and works in conjunction with a Gaussian plume triangulation algorithm that can precisely detect the location of a methane leak and estimate its mass emission rate.