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Monitoring solutions for the gas industry

As greenhouse gas emissions rise and non-renewable energy sources diminish, landfill waste gas, coal seam methane and biogas are becoming increasingly popular as major sources of clean energy.

The most common component of the gas composition is methane, which if emitted into the atmosphere has a global warming potential, 21 times that of carbon dioxide. However, if the methane is used for power generation it does not escape into the atmosphere and the global warming effect is reduced. Monitoring the amount of methane being utilised for power generation is crucial to quantify the carbon credits and also to ensure the concentration of methane does not reach a dangerously low level.

Australian company Austech Instruments has recently developed an analyser to monitor the concentration of methane being fed to engine modules installed in power stations supplied by landfill waste gas, coal seam methane or biogas. The analyser is used together with other instruments to monitor the flow of methane and enables accurate on-line real time monitoring of the methane concentration within the overall gas mix. This monitoring ensures that the engine can be run to optimum efficiency, can be shutdown if the methane approaches a dangerously low level of concentration, and importantly provides a measure of the performance of the power station in removing methane from the atmosphere, assisting in the calculation of greenhouse carbon credits.

The Austech Methane Analyser is an Australian Certified Flameproof Enclosure (Exd), ensuring it can be positioned in a hazardous area close to a fuel rail to shorten the sample line. This minimises the response time of the measurement. The Analyser is accurate, stable and is not cross-sensitive to other hydrocarbons, which is essential with an application where output is integral to the measurement of greenhouse gas abatement. The Analyser can also be used for safety shutdown functions.

The Analyser has a local display, 4-20 milliampere output and is available with optional relay outputs. When integrated with Austech’s sample conditioning system, the Methane Analyser can be tailored to each site’s specific conditions and environment.

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