Detecting natural gas leaks from the worlds nearly 5 million kilometers of underground pipelines is a difficult and costly challenge. Existing technologies are limited to ground deployment and have a number of limitations such as slow response, false leak readings and high costs. Various remote sensing solutions have been proposed in the past and a few are currently being developed. This paper starts by describing the remote sensing concept and then will focus on a new technology developed by Synodon scientists. This airborne instrument is a passive Gas Filter Correlation Radiometer (GFCR) that is tuned to measure ethane in the 3.3 microns near-infrared band. The paper will then present the results of the first airborne field tests and conclude with a description of the service which Synodon will be offering to the transmission and distribution pipeline operators using the new technology.

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