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New Independent Research Reveals Picarro Surveyor™ as Benchmark Solution in Natural Gas Leak Detection

Extensive Studies Show Picarro Surveyor™ Successfully Identifies More Natural Gas Leaks at Higher Frequency and Efficiency than Legacy Industry Methods
Santa Clara, Calif.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Picarro Inc., the world’s leading producer of stable isotope and gas concentration measurement systems for science and industry, today announced the company’s inclusion in four new reports from Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI) and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), which highlights Picarro SurveyorTM as the benchmark for natural gas leak detection. With PG&E as the lead author, the reports include two controlled and two field studies, which vetted and tested the technology in four regions in California and Nevada: Diablo, Livermore, Sacramento and southern Nevada. The results of this extensive study were issued on February 4, 2013.

The research details how Picarro Surveyor, which is 1,000 times more sensitive than legacy leak detection methods, performed while surveying over one hundred miles of natural gas distribution pipeline and over 7,700 services in some of the most challenging topographies and atmospheric conditions. The studies conducted side-by-side comparisons of Picarro Surveyor and legacy industry methods based upon their ability to successfully identify natural gas leaks. Comparison criteria included proficiency to detect leaks, survey rate and productivity, pipeline coverage and reporting capabilities. In all instances, Picarro outperformed traditional methods, identifying significantly more leaks in considerably less time. According to the Diablo and Sacramento field reports, Picarro Surveyor located several leaks that legacy methods failed to find, including seven Grade 1 leaks (those requiring an immediate response) and 10 Grade 2+ leaks (those requiring a scheduled priority repair within 90 days or less). Additionally, the Picarro Surveyor indicated leaks up to 10 times faster than legacy survey methods.

"With the continued support of progressive organizations like PRCI and PG&E, we will unlock the real potential of this technology,” said Timothy Clark, formerly a PG&E leak survey consultant and now the VP of business development, energy, at Picarro. “Picarro Surveyor simply finds leaks that no other technology in the world can find thus making utility networks safer. Furthermore, we envision applying these science-driven measurements to create risk-based statistical models to help utility operators better assess the integrity of vast pipeline networks, and to use those models to prioritize pipe replacement."

Picarro Surveyor is a fully-integrated instrument and geo-informatics platform that operates within any automobile, while continuously transmitting all data to Picarro’s cloud processing platform, P-Cubed®, for real-time browser-based information sharing. Picarro Surveyor shares the same patented Cavity Ring-down Spectroscopy (CRDS) technology with the company’s renowned greenhouse gas (GHG) instruments, which are used by the world’s top atmospheric research institutions such as NASA, NOAA, LSCE and the Chinese Meteorological Administration. In addition to its CRDS gas detection technology, Picarro Surveyor is the only solution to integrate wind transport physics into its leak detection analytics to instantly identify gas leak location and report land surveyed. P-Cubed, which powers its data analysis, mapping, archive and reporting features, provides graphical visualizations of the surveyed area for simultaneous viewing by numerous users on an iPad or other web-enabled devices. Furthermore, Picarro Surveyor is also the world’s only solution capable of distinguishing natural gas leaks from other sources of methane, such as sewers and landfills by stable isotope analysis, thereby eliminating false positives in minutes while in the field and saving numerous hours of laboratory gas analysis. All combined, these capabilities enable operators to conduct leak surveys at normal traffic speeds from the comfort of an automobile, find previously undetectable leaks, dramatically improve leak survey productivity and regulatory compliance – all literally at the push of a button.

Two notable Picarro Surveyor features that are powered by P-Cubed include the Leak Indication Search Area (LISA) and Field of View (FOV). LISAs are determined by wind variation and atmospheric stability and indicate the natural gas leak location. FOV is the system’s calculated observable range at any given moment and enables operators to “sweep” areas upwind for leaks. Picarro Surveyor’s FOV measurement capacity considers atmospheric conditions and the dynamics of the gas plume, adjusting its range accordingly. The accuracy and consistency of these features, in conjunction with the online reporting capabilities, are especially useful for regulatory compliance.

“The results from these independent reports underscore our own findings with customers that Picarro Surveyor is the new benchmark for natural gas leak detection,” said Picarro CEO Michael Woelk. “We commend PRCI for their professionalism and we are honored that, as the preeminent pipeline research organization, they conducted these independent studies. We also wish to thank PG&E’s leaders and engineers, whose input and advice proved invaluable during this process. These studies show us what can happen when leaders in technology, science and industry come together to solve a major problem.”

To acquire the full PRCI/PG&E reports detailing these results, please contact: Mark Piazza at PRCI or Kimberly Beck at Picarro.