07-11-2012
Methane Monitoring

Methane monitoring is very important to the mining and processing industry. Methane is a colourless greenhouse gas that is highly flammable known to cause asphyxiation to human beings. Research has shown that methane has 21 times the greenhouse potential of carbon dioxide. For that reason alone, it is important that methane emissions be monitored and dealt with accordingly. In the past, methane monitoring was done by determining the thermal conductivity of the gas or use of infra-red signals. They could to some reasonable degree of accuracy tell the methane concentration in a given gas sample. Infra-red detection systems more specifically were tuned to detect presence of gases with a hydrocarbon bond in a sample. The disadvantage of this method was that it could not accurately determine methane gas concentration as opposed to hydrocarbon concentration in that sample. Modern methane monitoring equipment overcame this hurdle through the use of tunable diode laser beam technology combined with neural intelligence. Using a sample of pure methane gas, the equipment could be programmed to accurately separate methane from other hydrocarbon gases thus giving a much better degree of accuracy than older systems could achieve. Methane monitoring can be done on exhaust from industrial processes with a view to controlling CH4 emissions. They are programmed to raise an alarm whenever the methane levels approach the maximum allowable methane emission levels. It can also be done in mines to determine the air quality, risk of explosion and toxicity levels. Methane monitoring is not limited to safety and emissions only. Methane levels need to be monitored in industrial processes that use methane as a source of energy, either to produce heat or electricity. The equipment comes in variety of sizes to suit different applications. Portable modules, for example, come in handy during the measurement of methane levels in remote air samples.

 


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