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New patrolling robots to eradicate petrol plant explosions

04 February 2019

Autonomous robots fitted with tiny chemical sensors that listen to the ‘sounds’ coming off gases will instantly detect gas leaks in petrochemical plants and pipelines to dramatically improve disaster responses.

The risk of a petrol plant explosion or a potential disaster on an oil refinery could be dramatically reduced thanks to a new generation of tiny chemical sensors that use light and sound to ‘listen to’ gas leaks.

Fitted to an autonomous patrolling robot, the tiny ‘Photo-Acoustic’ gas sensors will be part of a wireless network continuously monitoring pipelines that can instantly identify petroleum, hydrogen sulphide, and a number of toxic gases, before alerting operatives in an oil rig or chemical plant.

Current state of the art technologies can take anything up to eight minutes per measurement and give off ‘false positives’ when detecting gas leaks. However, a group of EU researchers are exploiting new techniques to positively identify a leak in milliseconds.

The multi-discipline consortium, calling themselves ‘REDFINCH’ (or mid infraREd Fully Integrated CHemical sensors) have combined light together with sound to increase the detection sensitivity of the wavelength ‘fingerprint’ of a gas so that it can be positively identified. 

Read the full article in the February issue of DPA



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