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IMSS Measures Flare Efficiency


Under a contract to the Department of Defense (DoD), Pacific Advanced Technology (PAT) has developed a field portable infrared imaging spectrometer (Image Multi-Spectral Sensing or IMSS) for military related applications, such as detection and warning of numerous targets missile plumes as just one. The IMSS is an infrared imaging spectrometer that forms an image of the plume, as well as obtaining a spectrum to identify and analyze the chemical species in the plume. Key to this new detection methodology is a patented diffractive optical system, and new state of the art image processing technology.

Recent breakthroughs in Digital Signal Processors (DSP) and Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) permit these sophisticated image processing techniques to display this data to the operator in real-time. PAT has analyzed and successfully tested this new IMSS technology for commercial gas leak detection and flare analysis applications. The lab model IMSS instrument, shown in the photo below, is small and portable.

The IMSS has demonstrated that it can measure, at long range, target spectral signatures consisting of multiple species simultaneously, and it can handle the effects of atmospheric absorption and scattering. The IMSS technology is ideal to be applied to monitoring of toxic and/or organic compound emissions from high temperature complex matrix sources such as incinerators, fossil fuel based power plants, and flares. It also can be applied to the monitoring of released gases from complex point sources or area sources including tanks, pipes, valves, vents, etc. A key advantage of this technology is that it does not need artificial illumination sources such as a laser; only natural ambient illumination is required to image and analyze the gases or flames.

Test Results

The IMSS was taken to a location 1km from the flares at the Gaviota gas processing facility in Gaviota, California. The facility is shown in figure 1. The flares are located in the tall tower at the left. The IMSS imaging spectrometer imaged the facility, and the spectrum of the flare produced by the IMSS is shown in figure 2. There were two openings in the flare vent, labeled right and left.

Figure 1. Gaviota Gas Processing Facility

Figure 2. Flare Spectrum

PAT also monitored a flare from an off shore oil platform located near Santa Barbara, California. The IMSS imaging spectrometer was located at Camino Cielo Mountain approximately 10 miles from the platform. An infrared image of the platform and the flare was made using the IMSS with a telescopic 750 mm lens; as is shown in figure 3. The IMSS was tuned to 3.8 microns. The flare can be seen as the bright spot near the center of the image. The IMSS then extracted a spectrum of the flare.

Figure 3. Infrared image of the flare from an off shore oil platform near Santa Barbara, California

Shown in figure 4 is the flare spectrum, along with the atmospheric spectra (Glint2). The CO2 emission in the flare exactly corresponds to the CO2 absorption in the atmosphere. The flare has additional constituents of CO, and also some hydrocarbons. The spectra measured by the IMSS corresponds to that of p-DIOXANE and o-XYLENE.

Figure 4. Spectrum of a flare from off shore oil platform produced by the IMSS at a distance of 10 miles

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