Researchers in LSU’s engineering department are working to develop specialized monitors that can detect leaks in CO2 pipelines and carbon capture and storage sites using a $500,000 experimental grant from the university’s Institute for Energy Innovation.
The sensors would use fiber optic technology distributed along the pipeline or storage site, says Petroleum Engineering Assistant Professor Jyotsna Sharma. The fiber optic sensor cables are less than 0.5 of an inch in diameter and lightweight, allowing for a quick response time to a leak.
“These wells and pipelines are so long that we need large-scale sensing,” Sharma says. “If we have a 5,000-foot fiber, we have a 5,000-foot sensor, which gives us a big advantage over regular CO2 point-sensors that only measure one location. If we know where it’s leaking, we can do something about it.”
Another researcher on the team, Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Manas Gartia, is working to develop specialized materials that are sensitive to CO2 to embed on the surface of the cables. Read more about the project from LSU.