BP Chemicals employs thermal imaging for gas leak detection

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BP Chemicals is using thermal imaging for the visualisation and documentation of gas leaks at its manufacturing and process research site in Saltend, UK.

Three Flir GasFindIR cameras were employed to check plant integrity at the Saltend site. Designed for outdoor use the Flir GasfindIR HSX camera was used to detect a range of gases including methane and methanol that are both predominant at the UK plant. In addition, a long wave (LW) version of the camera was used for detecting acetic acid, acetic anhydride and ammonia, three of the total of eight products processed at Saltend. Completing the set was a Flir GasFindIR model specifically designed to detect carbon monoxide (CO) – a colourless, odourless but highly poisonous gas.

Although some process areas of BP Chemicals at Saltend are nearly 30 years old the site is exceptionally well maintained and this was born out by the relatively few emissions detected during the IR survey. Nevertheless all three cameras acquitted themselves well by pinpointing several gas leaks.

Flir GasFindIR cameras can scan large areas rapidly and pinpoint leaks in real time. The technology is ideal for monitoring a plant that is difficult to reach with contact measurement tools and literally thousands of components can be scanned per shift without the need to interrupt the process. Using the thermal camera reduces repair downtime and provides verification of the process. Importantly using thermal imaging camera technology is exceptionally safe, as potentially dangerous leaks can be monitored from several metres away.