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Not on my watch: Monitoring coal bed methane and UCG operations

World Coal,

Flowrox, a global player in heavy-duty industrial valve, pumps and instrumentation manufacturing and services, has released a new instrument designed to enhance the monitoring of pipelines and related flow-process equipment affected by paraffin wax and asphaltene depositions.

The Flowrox Deposition Watch is a predictive, rather than reactive device. This allows operators to address deposition issues before they reach critical levels that can cause downtime or damage.

The instrument allows customers to generate real-time images of any depositions affecting a piping system – without needing to open up the pipeline and slow down production.

The watch uses electrical capacitance tomography (ECT) to create these real-time images. It can then display a picture of the scale or deposition in the sensor and also provides a free volume trend (how much of a pipeline is still available for flow).

The instrument can be used in almost any type of pipeline, including coalbed methane (CBM) or underground coal gasification (UCG) projects. As Todd Loudin, President and CEO of North American Operations for Flowrox, explained: “the device would be useful in coal seam gas monitoring and underground coal gasification”.

“This is completely new technology which has very little competition,” said Loudin. “The Flowrox Deposition Watch can model mathematically deposition profiles and provide calculations on the free available pipe remaining.”

Using the Flowrox Deposition Watch will allow the industry to make better decisions regarding when to add chemicals and the frequency of addition of these expensive chemicals for treatment of depositions, as well as allowing them to make better decisions regarding when to disassemble a pipeline for manual cleaning.

The cost of an unplanned shutdown due to deposits has the potential for becoming a catastrophic event in the operation, and thus engineers and operators tend to overfeed chemicals to cleanse depositions or schedule more physical cleanings of the pipeline than necessary.

The watch can show its operators the deposition thickness, deposition profile, growth rates over time, composition, and free flow volume – all of which allow engineers to understand areas where pipes are prone to these damaging deposits.

Edited by Sam Dodson

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