An IoT framework for gas measurement

This article first appeared in Sensors Online on March 10, 2017

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the capability of businesses to measure and manage a range of previously standalone infrastructure. In flare-gas operations, businesses are deploying this capability to monitor flaring volumes remotely and seeing transformative results in terms of cost reduction, emissions management, and new revenue streams. While deploying this capability in gas-flaring operations will be crucial for the energy sector in the coming decades, any business that measures gas can adopt the same principles to increase efficiencies and generate new revenue streams.

Cloudy Conditions

Cloud technology has already made a significant impact on business operations for companies measuring gas. Whereas historically computing power was limited to on-site equipment, businesses now have access to almost unlimited computing power through the cloud.

While adoption within flaring operations is still in its infancy, the technology is poised to change gas management fundamentally. Remote gas measurement through cloud platforms can vastly reduce cost and, more significantly, risk. Operations in hostile and hazardous locations are more efficiently manageable and organizations can better manage risk. For the energy sector, this can also support the necessary management of greenhouse gas emissions.

Data Streams Are A Sea Of Potential

Gas measurement infrastructure can be difficult to access. In hostile environments, such as oil rigs, it is often hazardous for engineers tasked with operating and maintaining equipment. In both scenarios, remote access to measurement data can reduce cost. Historically it has been necessary for personnel to check whether assets are working on-site. This costs time and money and, for the oil and gas industry, means inserting a human being into a dangerous environment.

Cloud technology enables businesses to remotely monitor gas measurement assets and access real-time data feeds. The best platforms allow data to be accessed from multiple devices, anywhere in the world. Data is received instantly, insight gained quickly, and action can be taken as soon as possible. Wherever gas measurement occurs, access to improved information in real time enables more informed strategic decision making.

Emissions Reductions Are A Necessary Step

Remote data streams for diagnostics using telemetry are already used in sectors such as utilities. Data feeds are used to manage tasks such as asset well-being reporting, or for more sophisticated diagnostics, such as software updates.

With remote asset monitoring through the internet using cloud technology, applying this process to gas measurement in other industries has the potential of a transformative effect. In the oil and gas industry, the ability to monitor flare gas volumes in real-time will support the necessary transition to carbon emissions reduction. A 2015 International Energy Agency (IEA) report, ‘CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion Highlights’ estimates that more than 40% of global CO2 emissions come from the power sector, with a further 20% resulting from large-scale industrial processes such as chemicals production.

The ability to feed real-time CO2 emissions data into a continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS) in the cloud will allow organizations to collect, record, and report data remotely. Insight gained from data analytics in turn enables more effective management of emissions across multiple sites, even if they are in different countries.

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August 20, 2018 | News

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