Differential Absorption Lidar

SDL is developing an advanced Differential Absorption Lidar technology for the oil and gas industry. DIAL will not only serve the industry’s current need for advanced-process leak measurement, but it will also be inexpensive and accessible. This will allow regulators to enact enforceable standards that are more appropriate than what we have.

In addition, SDL’s DIAL unit will be considerably smaller and lighter than today’s options are, making it available for use in previously untenable applications, such as wellhead extraction sites and offshore gas exploration.

The Problem With Air Emissions

The oil and gas industry is under increasing regulatory scrutiny for heavy emissions of benzene and volatile organic compounds, which escape primarily from their refining facilities. Modern methane leak detection technology has also revealed that facility losses of potentially saleable methane (natural gas) can reach up to $1 million per-facility per-year.

Despite increased awareness of the health and ecomonic impact of air emissions, U.S. regulators have been unable to enact suitable regulations. This is due to the exceedingly high cost of detecting and measuring these emissions. Adequate technology options to address the need for leak detection and measurement are in short supply, and the technology options that do exist are too expensive and frequently unavailable.

Progress and Plans

SDL has successfully tested the necessary processes to build a preliminary DIAL instrument. SDL is now well prepared to design and build an initial prototype that will assist in the process of repairing leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. In the near future, SDL will begin the process of designing and building a second DIAL prototype capable of assisting in the effective control of even more types of air pollutants, including benzene and other volatile organic compounds.