Drones to Detect Leaks on Gas Transmission Pipelines


ABB will now release drones to know if there is a gas leak in a pipeline and it is said to save money and prevent environmental disaster / Photo by: Free-Photos via Pixabay


In a bid to prevent costly repairs on many natural gas transmission pipelines, ABB has developed drones that will have the ability to detect gas leaks from the pipelines, saving producers hundreds of dollars and keeping the environment free from the leak’s harmful effects.

As reported by The Engineer UK, the drones will be designed to work even in a distance of up to 100m away through the use of ABB’s own Internet of Things (IoT) platform, ABB Ability. The signals that the drone will then be sending back will go straight to the cloud for further analysis regardless of where the drone might be at the moment.

The signal will then travel a secure connection, where the remote operators will be able to look into the matter as it is uploaded in the cloud, or come back to it if further investigation is required.

It can also work as a detector even from the 100-meter distance, since ABB designed it to be able to detect even the smallest trace of gas leaks (both ethane and methane) within the said distance, so much so that it will be able to “sniff even a few molecules of methane above the atmospheric baseline level of 1,800 parts per billion.”

This allows for better maintenance of transmission pipelines that won’t cause as much harm to the environment, as well as work in the same way as predictive maintenance in AI-powered factory supply lines. Originally, the system was designed to detect the same gas traces but in the atmosphere.

By translating that capacity into drones, the company has changed the size and weight of the drone so as to make it more suitable for the oil and gas industry, according to Doug Baer, ABB global product line manager for laser analyzers. Baer added that such a change needs to be done because most transmission pipelines run under rivers and bridges.

In order to get into those tight spots, the solution was to fly.