Optical gas imaging (OGI) with infrared cameras excels at detecting gas leaks, but some businesses that might find it useful are put off by the cost. Now a new generation of cameras that rely on uncooled detectors is bringing OGI to more users.
The gas detection camera technique has a wide range of potential uses in the electrical distribution and chemical industries. Although limited to a certain extent by environmental conditions, the camera is proven to identify leaks at some distance. This reduces the cost of surveys by removing the requirement to provide access to every potential leak path and permits surveys to be completed on energized electrical equipment.
In a complex petrochemical facility, there may be many thousands of potential leak paths. Some may be leaking, but most will not. Using a gas detection camera allows the user to examine many potential leak sources in a short time and from a distance.
Thermal imaging cameras are an ideal monitoring tool for flare stacks, since they allow automated remote monitoring on a 24/7 basis in virtually any weather. In addition, thermal imaging cameras avoid many of the technical and cost-related problems associated with other technologies such as ultraviolet (UV) flame detectors, flame ionization spectrometers, thermocouples, and pyrometers.
Optical gas imaging (OGI) cameras have traditionally been designed with cooled IR detectors that offer several advantages over uncooled detectors, but often have higher costs. However, advancements in uncooled technologies have allowed OGI camera manufacturers to design and develop lower cost solutions to OGI industries.