July 31, 2017

QCL Technology Provides Never Before Achievable Performance in Gas Purity Measurement

By Amanda Gogates, Cascade Global Product Manager, Emerson Automation Solutions

Precise and cost-effective measurement of gas purity significantly impacts the bottom line in a number of industrial applications. I’d like to share a new technology with you that will overcome many of the most common problems manufacturers face in this area, including poor sensitivity, costly consumables, and outmoded equipment requiring high levels of technician resourcing to operate and maintain. You may be aware of the Emerson line of Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) technology for measurement applications such as Continuous Emission Monitoring or CEMS. Now, this remarkable technology has been extended to some of the most demanding markets in the world and is a quantum leap over previous generation solutions.

First, a little background on the technology. Emerson’s QCL technology offers fast, high-resolution spectroscopic detection to identify a range of compounds. QCLs operate in the mid-infrared spectral region, where molecules typically exhibit strong absorption bands that can be exploited to improve measurement sensitivity. Coupled with Tunable Diode Laser (TDL) spectroscopy, a single instrument is now able to broaden measurement capability and exploit both the near- and mid-infrared regions.  The result is that a single analyzer is able to monitor an increased number of compounds compared to preceding technologies. The system uses what is called a laser chirp technique. In this technique, a QCL is pulsed with electrical energy and heats up and as the temperature increases, the wavelength of the emitted light also increases. A laser chirp lasts about one microsecond, and in this time a spectrum of between one and three wavenumbers is scanned, sufficient to detect unique absorption features from one or multiple gases. This data can then be interpreted in terms of absolute concentration, minimizing the need for complex and frequent instrument calibration. QCLs can be chirped at a frequency of up to 100 KHz, enabling many thousands of spectra to be gathered in a few seconds, resulting in a high signal-to-noise ratio, while maintaining a rapid response time.

As a result of this unique design, the new CT5800 enables highly accurate measurement of concentrations of impurities down to sub-ppm levels in a variety of gas streams. This makes it ideal for hydrogen purity, nitrogen purity, and ethylene purity applications. With up to six laser modules housed inside the same enclosure, the CT5800 analyzer can measure up to twelve components simultaneously, greatly reducing the need for multiple analyzers while still meeting the real-world analysis needs of these markets.

The key outcome of this new technology is that the combination of this measurement performance and analyzer capabilities has not been possible before – not with existing lasers or other measurement technologies. Of course, not every application needs this level of performance, but when taking the example of ethylene product quality, time and product contamination is money in this volatile industry. When multiple, highly sensitive measurements can be made in seconds by a QCL, excursions in the product quality can be rapidly detected, facilitating decisions to suitably manage plant operation, and minimize losses. QCL technology provides a speed and quality level never before possible. Likewise, the low levels of detection not only improve product quality for the user, but they also open up wider market options and help meet guidelines.

Over the next months, I’ll be sharing about ways to optimize gas analysis in different critical markets. For now, if you have questions about how QCL technology might work for you, please contact me at Amanda.gogates@Emerson.com.

How do you currently measure gas purity?

July 5, 2017

Get Better Overfill Protection with 2-in-1 Technology

By Johan Sandberg, Safety Expert, Emerson Automation Solutions

As you know, overfills are a major problem to the process industry in general, but especially so for bulk liquid storage tanks where the consequences can be catastrophic. The industry and society in general are currently investing considerable resources to increase the safety at tank farms. Today the basic overfill prevention technology at many facilities with atmospheric bulk liquid storage tanks uses this configuration:

  • Automatic tank gauge (ATG) for continuous hi-accuracy level measurement connected to a DCS or separate tank gauging system and
  • Separate level sensor connected to a manual or automatic overfill prevention system (OPS-Sensor)

This is the recommended minimum configuration for most tank operations according to API 2350.

Two trends – continuous level for the OPS-sensor and Radar technology for the ATG – are now converging and new installations today often consist of two radar level gauges for both level and independent overfill prevention measurements. Two of the main reasons behind this transition is the high reliability of radar technology combined with the efficient proof-testing procedure it offers. Because of the online measurement the latest generation of Radar level gauges can offer remote proof-testing capabilities. However, existing tanks often have practical limitations that make safety upgrades with two separate level gauges cost prohibited:

  • No tank opening available
  • No measurement pipe available
  • Pressurized tank that cannot be opened
  • Hot tank work cannot be accepted
  • Modifications may require tank to be taken out of service
  • Difficult to modify floating roofs
  • Tank’s Custody Transfer Approval may become invalid
  • Restrapping the tank due to modifications
  • Tank may not pass a new pressure test

That’s where a new technology pioneered by Emerson comes in with a solution. Rosemount 5900 2-in-1 Radar Level Gauge is a new technology that allows a single tank opening to be used for both level (ATG) and separate overfill prevention (OPS-Sensor) measurements. This solution offers substantial cost savings compared to using two separate level sensors.

We’d like to offer you a free white paper that walks you through the issues related to overfill protection, the regulatory requirements and the ways in which this novel solution might work for your tank installations. Please click HERE for the white paper.

If you have any questions, just contact Johan Sandberg, Johan.Sandberg@Emerson.com or call +46703740705. What are the issues you face in improving safety in bulk liquid storage?