Heath Consultants to develop methane-detecting UAS

By Patrick C. Miller | August 05, 2015

Heath Consultants Inc. has been selected by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to develop and demonstrate an unmanned aerial system (UAS) to monitor methane, a greenhouse gas.

Based in Houston, the company will work in collaboration with Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI), Thorlabs, Princeton University and University of Houston on the Remote Methane Leak Detector (RMLD) Sentry which will continuously monitor, locate and quantify methane leaking from natural gas production sites.

Under an ARPA-E grant, Heath Consultants said its goal is to develop and demonstrate a low-cost UAS to reliably detect and measure methane leakage. The fully autonomous system combines a miniaturized version of the laser-based RMLD; the InstantEye quadrotor unmanned aerial vehicle with self-directed flight patterns; mid-infrared lasers; and advanced wind and plume models. 

The three-year program will test prototype units at selected field sites. According to Heath Consultants, the RMLD Sentry system is intended for widespread deployment to reduce the environmental impact and cost of natural gas leakage.

Heath Consultants specializes in natural gas detection technologies and services, partnering with research and development organizations and industry trade associations. It provide products and services to various utility markets.

PSI provides contract research and development services to both government and commercial customers. With an emphasis on applied research, PSI develops advanced technologies for aerospace, chemical, defense, energy, environmental, manufacturing and medical applications.


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