Stand-off Detection of Hydrogen Concentration


The ability to remotely monitor hydrogen and map its concentration is a pressing challenge in large scale production and distribution as well as other sectors such as nuclear storage. We present a photonicsbased approach for the stand-off sensing and mapping of hydrogen concentration capable of detecting and locating <0.1% concentrations at 100m distance. The technique identifies the wavelength of light resulting from interaction with laser pulses via Raman scattering and can identify a range of other gas species, e.g. hydrocarbons, ammonia, by the spectroscopic analysis of the wavelengths present in the return signal. LIDAR, Light Detection and Ranging – analogous to Radar, is used for ranging. Laserbased techniques for the stand-off detection of hydrocarbons frequently employ absorption of light at specific wavelengths which are characteristic of the gas species. Unfortunately, Hydrogen does not exhibit strong absorption, however, it does exhibit strong Raman scattering when excited in the UV wavelength range. Raman scattering is a comparatively weak effect. However, the use of solid-state detectors capable of detecting single photons, known as SPADS (Single Photon Avalanche Photodiode), enables the detection of low concentrations at range while making use of precise time-of-flight range location correlation. The initial safety case which necessitated our development of stand-off hydrogen sensing was the condition monitoring of stored nuclear waste, supported and funded by Sellafield and the National Nuclear Laboratory in the UK. A deployable version of the device has been developed and hydrogen characterisation has been carried out in an active nuclear store. Prior to deployment a full ignition risk assessment was carried out. To the best of our knowledge this technique is the strongest candidate for the remote, stand-off sensing of hydrogen.

Related subjects: Safety
Countries: United Kingdom

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