Devices Locate Pipe Joints, Detect Methane
One of the promising technologies is the Gas Technology Institute's metallic joint locator, a device that locates joints in cast-iron gas piping from the ground to minimize excavations. Cast-iron joints often leak, and the device offers utilities an accurate way to pinpoint their location in order to perform repair and remediation, potentially through keyhole techniques, with significant cost savings.
Given that there are roughly 400 joints per mile of cast-iron mains, even companies with modest amounts of cast-iron could benefit from the technology, according to GTI, headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill. The device also may be able to find chill rings in welded steel pipe, metallic tapping tees, metallic flanges and metal repair clamps.
The joint locator is wheeled across the ground along the length of buried pipe to find joints without requiring contact with the pipe. Readings automatically are triggered by an odometer wheel, stored internally and retrieved via serial link. The technology has been proven to detect cast-iron joints to a depth of 3.28'.
GTI's other technology, a portable methane detector, demonstrates significant market potential, according to the institute. The handheld device supports natural gas infrastructure leak surveys using infrared to pinpoint leaks. The technology detects leaks with specific response to methane from a few parts per million to 100 percent gas for fast leak classification.
The portable methane detector maintains the accuracy of the widely used flame-ionization detector yet lowers operating costs, says GTI engineer Kiran Kothari. The device also has the potential to eliminate the need for a combustible gas indicator.
Both new technologies have been licensed to Sensit Technologies, Valparaiso, Ind., a leak detection product manufacturer, and will be marketed as Ultra-Trac MJL and Sensit PMD.