Low Cost Imager for Pollutant Gas Leak DetectionEPA Contract Number: EPD08017
Title: Low Cost Imager for Pollutant Gas Leak Detection
Investigators: Domash, Lawrence H.
Small Business: Agiltron Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Project Period: March 3, 2008 through August 31, 2008
Project Amount: $69,952
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2008) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Air Pollution
Infrared (IR) imaging is the best method for detecting leaks of pollutant gases, but current technology based on cooled IR imagers is far too expensive ($75,000 to $150,000) for everyday field use by those who need it to meet regulatory limits—electric and petrochemical utilities, manufacturing plants, and businesses such as supermarkets. Agiltron will demonstrate a new class of IR imager instrument for the detection of leaks of pollutant gases. Variants of the camera will be demonstrated for the long-wave (8-12 μm) and mid-wave (3-5 μm) IR, which between them will be able to locate leaks for dozens of pollutant gases. The proposed technology combines Agiltron’s LightLever™ photomechanical thermal imager technology with a tunable IR filter developed originally for the telecommunications industry. In Phase I, Agiltron will show the feasibility of the long-wave version using sulfur hexafluoride as a target gas. The mid-wave version will be able to visualize leaks for methane, benzene, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The new technology will lead to a hand-held gas leak viewer that can be sold to end users for less than $5,000.
American industry faces a costly problem in localizing leaks of pollutant gases to meet regulations or limit toxic releases. The proposed technology will save millions of dollars per year in industrial maintenance costs, permit much wider deployment of IR imaging for leak detection, and enable more efficient compliance with U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) and state regulations.