NYSEARCH Evaluates New Imaging Technology for Potential Emissions Quantification & Leak Pinpointing Applications at SoCal Gas

Testing of new methane leak detection technology at SoCal Gas.

On-screen imagery depicting leaks detected during testing.

In April, NYSEARCH Staff, SoCal Gas field and R & D personnel as well as our contractor, Multi-Sensor Scientific of Boston, Mass., completed a first round of testing to evaluate the potential for a new imaging technology to address gas LDC methane detection applications. This tool applies shortwave infrared spectroscopy and uses natural or illuminated light that is absorbed by methane and other gases to result in a measurable change in the infrared spectrum. This non-thermal imaging technology is claimed to have the potential for measuring flow rates from <10 SCFH to over 50 SCFH.

NYSEARCH members have different interests in the tool and for the first tests at SoCal, the work focused on evaluating the potential to measure methane emissions. In the three days of controlled testing at ‘Situation City’ in Pico Rivera, Ca., the test activities were intended to confirm the presence of various leaks at flow rates >0.5 SCFH. The MSS tool is expected to quantify that emission. Shown in the photos on this page are the unique imaging system as set in a stationary position and imagery of various detected emissions from the initial tests. After the results from the SoCal Gas tests are fully evaluated, NYSEARCH funders will work to evaluate additional applications. Tests are planned at Spire-Alabama and in the Northeast. The latter tests will focus on leak pinpointing.


For over thirty years, NYSEARCH has worked as a consortium of natural gas Local Distribution Companies (LDCs) who have a common interest and need for research and technology development and demonstration. Today, as part of the Northeast Gas Association (NGA), NYSEARCH manages over (30) projects in various stages of development for LDCs, transmission companies, federal agencies and their manufacturing and commercial partners. NYSEARCH is located in Parsippany, NJ and NGA is headquartered in Needham, Massachusetts.