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Early detection of gas leaks onboard a Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) tankers

12/01/2020

The Challenge

Natural Gas is transported, cooled and pressurised by specially designed Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) tankers, that hold a large quantity of pipes above deck. Hydrocarbons such a methane can leak from these pipes, via flanged connections, instrument take off, or pipe failure. It is challenging to detect these minor leaks because LNG tankers operate in high winds and moisture levels. However, failure to detect even minor leaks can result in risk to assets, personnel and the environment.

This challenge set in conjunction with Shell, one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world, sought innovative methods to detect these minor gas leaks onboard an LNG tanker, using sensor technologies or other approaches. The proposed detection solution should have been safer, cost effective and should have capabilities to continuously monitor the entire cargo area. More specifically, the solution should have been able to detect leaks below the level a human can detect using sight or sensations, and potentially down to 0.4g/hr.

The Finalists

M SquaredNeuroControlsNoiseless AcousticsZol Dynamics

The Winner

Shell chose M Squared as the winner of this challenge. The startup is an innovative award-winning manufacturer of lasers and associated systems. MSL is vertically integrating into its core sectors of biophotonics, quantum technologies and industrial sensing, commercialising novel technology such as microscopes, gravimeters and standoff chemical sensors.

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