Coriolis and Wireless Measurement in Pipeline Leak Detection

In September, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) Pipeline Leak Detection Technology Conference gathered to:

…provide vendors, scientists, and research and development entities, the opportunity to describe the status of existing pipeline leak detection technologies and related practices and have their technologies reviewed and appraised by ADEC. The overall objective of the Conference is to better manage environmental risk through identification and potential use of proven new pipeline leak detection technologies, including related practices.

Together, Emerson’s Chris Connor presented how Micro Motion Coriolis flow and density measurement and PCE Pacific’s Keith Weedin presented how IEC 62591 WirelessHART technology could be applied in pipeline leak detection systems for increased detect-ability and accuracy. Chris noted that there are three basic types of pipeline leak detection:

  1. Pipe integrity monitoring (e.g., pipeline pigging)
  2. External monitoring (e.g., human inspection, vapor sensors, acoustic emissions monitoring)
  3. Internal fluid state monitoring:

Chris highlighted Micro Motion Coriolis flow meter technology as providing the tightest accuracy and reliability to increase leak “detect-ability” and “observe-ability” in these CPM systems. The Coriolis technology is not affected by changing conditions and requires no external pressure or temperature measurement or conversions. This technology also has a high turndown ratio to ensure accurate results over a wide range of flow rates. This inherent accuracy and reliability leads directly to faster leak detection times. In turn, this improved leak detection time also helps reduce leak detections rates for material balance systems.

The importance of the instrumentation is echoed by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation in their Technical Review of Leak Detection Technologies analysis, which states, “Effectiveness of any pipeline LDS is limited primarily by the sensitivity and accuracy of the installed instrumentation.

Where the wireless technology comes into the picture is in its simplified deployment. Running wires is often a hurdle in pipeline projects given the distances and lack of existing infrastructure involved. Keith shared how Rosemount wireless pressure and temperature transmitters could be applied for pressure-point detection applications.

These wireless devices also enable remote monitoring and asset management for field measurement device integration into leak detection systems for other devices beyond the Emerson Process Management devices, software, and systems. Keith shared an example of another presentation at the conference, which was Tyco’s Tracetec Fast Fuel Sensor that could be applied in conjunction with fluid state monitoring leak detection systems.

A whitepaper, Leak Detection and Micro Motion Coriolis Meters, highlights the role of Computational Pipeline Monitoring and the requirements for effective mass balance systems in effective leak detection systems.

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