Low Cost Imager for Pollutant Gas Leak Detection

EPA Contract Number: EPD09041
Title: Low Cost Imager for Pollutant Gas Leak Detection
Investigators: Domash, Lawrence H.
Current Investigators: Zhang, Lei
Small Business: Agiltron Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: II
Project Period: March 1, 2009 through February 28, 2011
Project Amount: $225,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2009) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Air Pollution


An inexpensive imaging Instrument to quickly locate leaks of methane and other greenhouse and VOC gases would reduce the cost and effort expended by industry to comply with EPA regulations. In Phase I, of this WBIR program, a new gas leak visualization camera was demonstrated using Agiltron’s infrared image sensor, which our company has under advance development and expects to manufacture in large volumes at much lower cost than any existing technology. In Phase I, using methane as an example target gas, we were able to detect leaks on the order of 10SCFH with only ambient IR illumination, by using our sensor together with proprietary methods of optical filtering and image processing. Building on this proof of principle, the Phase II prototype will be 10X more sensitive and entirely free of false alarms. The final product will be smaller, lighter, and much less expensive than any competing system, about $2,000 end user cost compared to $70-100K for currently available solutions. This will enable wide distribution in industries such as refineries and pipelines and for local businesses, including natural gas maintenance, supermarkets, and automotive and HVAC repair shops. In addition to methane, a wide variety of gases with absorption bands in the 6-12 μm IR range can be detected including SF6 and refrigerants, supporting compliance with EPA regulations for VOC and greenhouse gases. The unit is switched in sensitivity from one gas to another with a user-changeable filter. In Phase II Agiltron proposes to develop and test a prototype methane product which will incorporate sophisticated software algorithms and optimized optical designs to reach higher sensitivities along with ruggedness and ease of use. An LCD display will show an overlay of the gas leak plume with an ordinary visual image, making it easy for relatively untrained personnel to locate leaks very quickly. The performance of the instrument will be verified by a third party laboratory.

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report

  • SBIR Phase I:

    Low Cost Imager for Pollutant Gas Leak Detection  | Final Report