Scientists develop new technology to detect deep sea gas leaks

Oct 12, 2011

A new ultra-sensitive technology which can monitor leaks from underwater gas pipelines has been developed by scientists at the University of Southampton.

The research has shown that potentially environmentally and financially disastrous gas leaks from pipelines, and methane naturally leaking from the seabed, could in future be detected using changes in .

Using a simple set of underwater microphones to monitor these changes would provide a cost effective, unique detection system which would be one hundred times more sensitive than current monitors used by the oil and gas industry for remote detection with long deep sea pipelines.

"This new technology could save and distribution companies millions in lost revenue. Severe leaks can also be dangerous to nearby , shipping and for shore-based gas distribution facilities," comments Professor Tim Leighton of the University's Institute of Sound and Vibration Research who led the research.

He adds: "The technology would allow us remotely to monitor and potentially reduce the release into the atmosphere of gases from the seabed. This applies both to gas extracted by the petrochemical industries and to the methane which is naturally released from the seabed."

Natural leaks of can be damaging to the environment because it is a greenhouse pollutant.

The new acoustic technology, which is in early development, could also be used in future to monitor the structural integrity of carbon capture and storage facilities which are being developed globally. These facilities will trap , which scientists believe may be contributing to global warming. The UK government has just announced it is investing £1 billion in their development.

Explore further: Researchers use 3D printers to create custom medical implants

More information: The research was developed by Professor Tim Leighton and Professor Paul White and published today (Wednesday, 12 October 2011) by the Proceedings of the Royal Society A.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Plants used to detect gas leaks, from outer space!

Apr 06, 2006

Gas leaks can be potentially life threatening in the home, but the presence of gas stresses out plants too. Professor Mike Steven and colleagues from the University of Nottingham have found that changes in ...

Deep sea pipelines to green gas production

Oct 10, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- University of Queensland researchers are working to tap into a wealth of natural gas resources located in distant, deep-ocean fields off the coast of Western Australia.

Fracking leaks may make gas 'dirtier' than coal

Apr 12, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Extracting natural gas from the Marcellus Shale could do more to aggravate global warming than mining coal, according to a Cornell study published in the May issue of Climatic Change Letters (105:5).

Understanding methane's seabed escape

Sep 19, 2011

A shipboard expedition off Norway, to determine how methane escapes from beneath the Arctic seabed, has discovered widespread pockets of the gas and numerous channels that allow it to reach the seafloor.

Recommended for you

For secure software: X-rays instead of passport control

20 hours ago

Trust is good, control is better. This also applies to the security of computer programs. Instead of trusting "identification documents" in the form of certificates, JOANA, the new software analysis tool, examines the source ...

Razor-sharp TV pictures

22 hours ago

The future of movie, sports and concert broadcasting lies in 4K definition, which will bring cinema quality TV viewing into people's homes. 4K Ultra HD has four times as many pixels as today's Full HD. And ...

Michigan team finds security flaws in traffic lights

23 hours ago

What if attackers could manipulate traffic lights so that accidents would happen with mayhem as the result? That is a question many would rather put off for another day but authorities feeling responsible ...

User comments : 0