Since 2015, Hydrex Environmental’s Drone Division has been using drones for a variety of aerial imaging needs. This new aerial technology is capable of completing survey jobs in less than half the time of traditional methods, while safely keeping workers out of potentially dangerous areas. Hydrex has gained a reputation for delivering high quality reports with a quick turnaround time and providing outstanding continual support. The Drone Division is now taking thermal imaging to the air with the introduction of a specialized thermal camera that brings a whole new dimension to gas leak detection.
Optical Gas Imaging (OGI) allows us to see invisible gases by detecting thermal energy (heat) with a specialized sensor. With this thermal imaging technology, technicians can observe and analyze large areas to detect and pinpoint exact locations of fugitive emissions. This method is orders of magnitude more efficient than previous methods of relying on the guess-and-check placement of traditional equipment such as gas sniffers to locate leaks, which need to be placed within inches of the gas to detect it. With OGI making gases visible to a viewer, less fugitive emissions escape unnoticed and unrepaired, resulting in safer environments and less product loss.
With this thermal imaging technology mounted on a drone and operated remotely by an experienced Hydrex pilot, there’s no need for facility workers, operators, or inspectors to be put in harm’s way. Hydrex is dedicated to creating a safer work environment and providing a cost-effective method for detecting gas leaks with no need to shut down operations.
As a part of Hydrex’s Drone Division services, we have added OGI to our repertoire with ICI’s Mirage HC infrared camera that can detect 20 different HydroCarbon Gases, including Methane. The camera can also capture accurate temperature data. The Mirage HC camera uses a special filter that lets only a narrow band of mid-wave infrared light to pass through to the sensor. Light within this band is absorbed by HydroCarbon gases. Both the filter and sensor are cooled with liquid-helium to remove any thermal interference. This allows the camera to pick up the extremely minute changes in energy resulting from the gases’ absorption of infrared light. On the camera’s viewer, the gas appears as a darker plume against the background thermal energy. An experienced technician can manipulate controls mid-flight to adjust camera parameters to isolate and highlight the gas plume, and even get temperature readings and alerts.
Traditionally, OGI has been performed with hand-held devices, requiring the technician to manually operate the camera and place themselves in potentially dangerous and difficult to reach places. But Hydrex is taking the technology airborne. The Mirage HC is paired with a high resolution visual camera and mounted on a UAV, providing live feeds in both thermal and natural color to the pilot and thermographer on the ground. This helps identify and locate the objects being inspected and allows for quick and efficient inspections, even in difficult to access places. Operated by a certified thermographer, inspections are now safer, take less time, and are far more accurate.
After Hydrex’s Drone Division conducts a survey, any identified leaks are documented in a detailed report that includes location information, natural color photographs, and a short video of the thermal data depicting the leaking gas, providing enough information for repairs to take place quickly and regulatory compliance to be maintained.
The recent passing of 40 CFR Part 60 Subpart OOOOa requires leak detection and repair (LDAR) surveys for fugitive emissions (VOCs and Methane) at a variety of facilities that did not previously require LDAR Solutions. Although traditional Method 21 (M21) instruments and protocols are still acceptable, the EPA has incorporated optical gas imaging (OGI) as a viable alternative to M21 practices for leak detection.
Contact Hydrex’s Drone Division today to find out how we can help you reduce product loss, increase efficiency, and ensure human health with both our Optical Gas Imaging technology and drone services.