Picarro Inc., which makes gas concentration measurement systems, is participating in an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Natural Gas STAR workshop today at the American Gas Association (AGA) Operations Conference in Orlando. San Francisco-based Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), a Piccaro customer, is discussing a downstream leak detection technology and gas safety enhancement.
The Natural Gas STAR Program encourages oil and natural gas companies to adopt cost-effective technologies and practices that improve operational efficiency and reduce emissions of methane, a clean energy source but a potent greenhouse gas. As part of this workshop, Steve Redding, Bay Area maintenance and construction director for PG&E, and Michael Woelk, CEO of Picarro, are detailing how PG&E implemented Picarro’s Surveyor technology into the utility’s natural gas leak detection efforts.
PG&E has been using Surveyor since October 2012 and is reportedly the first natural gas operator user. PG&E deployed the devices for vehicle-mounted, super-sensitive gas leak detection throughout its northern and central California service area over the next three years. PG&E initially ordered two devices in early 2012 and studied their capabilities by mounting them on electric vehicles. Picarro and PG&E have now signed a three-year managed services contract for six units.
Surveyor measures and maps natural gas and methane plumes in the air as a PG&E vehicle drives through neighborhoods. It includes a high-precision gas analyzer and an online user interface that provides real-time data on an iPad or other web-enabled device, alerts users and repair teams immediately upon leak detection. The technology is said to be approximately 1,000 times more sensitive than traditional leak detection equipment and capable of detecting leaks down to one part per billion in ambient air while reducing false positives from naturally occurring methane.
Piccaro, www.picarro.com, is based in Santa Clara, Calif., and its systems are used worldwide.