Near-infrared incoherent broadband cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy (NIR-IBBCEAS) for detection and quantification of natural gas components

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Department of Physics


The principle of near-infrared incoherent broadband cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy was employed to develop a novel instrument for detecting natural gas leaks as well as for testing the quality of natural gas mixtures. The instrument utilizes the absorption features of methane, butane, ethane, and propane in the wavelength region of 1100 nm to 1250 nm. The absorption cross-section spectrum in this region for methane was adopted from the HITRAN database, and those for the other three gases were measured in the laboratory. A singular-value decomposition (SVD) based analysis scheme was employed for quantifying methane, butane, ethane, and propane by performing a linear least-square fit. The developed instrument achieved a detection limit of 460 ppm, 141 ppm, 175 ppm and 173 ppm for methane, butane, ethane, and propane, respectively, with a measurement time of 1 second and a cavity length of 0.59 m. These detection limits are less than 1% of the Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) for each gas. The sensitivity can be further enhanced by changing the experimental parameters (such as cavity length, lamp power etc.) and using longer averaging intervals. The detection system is a low-cost and portable instrument suitable for performing field monitorings. The results obtained on the gas mixture emphasize the instrument's potential for deployment at industrial facilities dealing with natural gas, where potential leaks pose a threat to public safety.

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