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Making Analyzers that Work in the Real World

If you work in a process plant, you probably have had some frustrating experiences with analyzers. They’re vital to process measurement and control, but keeping them running can be a real pain. Why can’t someone make an analyzer that works as well and as reliably as a pressure, a temperature or a flow transmitter? The problems with analyzers are twofold. First, the measurements that have to be made are often a complex and frequently involve chemical reactions. Analyzing chemical composition is always going to more difficult than measuring pressure. Seconds, many analyzer vendors have roots in making lab instruments for controlled and continuously monitored environments. Adapting these analyzers for on-line operation and field installation while making them rugged enough to not need daily maintenance has been too high a hurdle for many lab instrument vendors. Now, new entrants from completely …


TDL Technology Promises Improved Process Control in Gas Plants

Ultra-fast and highly accurate, a new Tunable Diode Laser analyzer technology is replacing conventional sensors at refineries and gas processors, saving on maintenance while providing enhanced control over process integrity.


Gas Analyzer Technology Boosts Potential For Converting Biogas To Electric Power

The ability of advanced, laser-based sensors to detect moisture, hydrogen sulfide and other contaminants in gases can smooth the way for biogas as a resource for electric utilities.   Wouldn’t it be great if some of the expensive green power programs you hear about actually worked? Experts and financiers are predicting it will take billions of investment dollars and decades to get any meaningful quantity of energy from alternative resources.   Perhaps not. One of the oldest and most widespread forms of potential energy — methane gas — promises to give those efforts a sizable boost — right now.   The main component of “natural gas,” methane is found in abundance in many places other than subterranean gas wells. Landfills, oil pipelines, pasturelands, forests and waste treatment plants all contain methane or the biomass from which methane can be formed. …


Improving Process Control with TDL Technology

Confronted with increasing costs and product integrity issues, the hydrocarbon processing industry has become increasingly dependent on sensors for detection and the measurement of impurities in gas streams. For some sensing technologies, this can be a hit and miss situation that can comprise process control and result in costly actions, including high maintenance costs, unplanned shutdowns and unanticipated shut-ins.   Protecting expensive process equipment Gas processing plants require fast and accurate measurements of moisture (H2O), hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and carbon dioxide (CO2), because these contaminants damage expensive equipment such as turbo-machinery and pipelines; shorten desiccant, contractor or molecular sieve lifetimes; and threaten the operator's ability to maintain tight process control and product quality. In some cases, the gas processor's downstream customer can shut in their supplier, which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.


SpectraSensors Ranked Fifth on Inc. Magazine's List of the Top 50 Environmental Services Companies in America

Houston, TX – August 26, 2008 – SpectraSensors, Inc. has been ranked fifth on Inc. Magazine’s list of the 50 fastest-growing private American companies in the environmental category, which includes a broad range of product and services companies. The company placed 583rd on the Inc. 5,000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., with nearly 600 percent revenue growth from 2004 through 2007. SpectraSensors is a leading manufacturer and supplier of precision optical laser-based gas analyzers used by the natural gas, petrochemical, clean tech and environmental monitoring industries to improve efficiency and product quality. “Our second annual Inc. 5,000 continues the most ambitious project in business journalism,” said Inc. 5,000 project manager Jim Melloan. “The Inc. 5,000 gives an unrivalled portrait of young, underreported companies across all industries doing fascinating things with cutting-edge business models, as well as …


Analyzer Technology Boosts Potential for Converting Biogas to Power

The ability of advanced, laser-based sensors to detect moisture, hydrogen sulfide and other contaminants in gases can smooth the way for biogas as a resource for electric utilities. Wouldn’t it be great if some of the expensive Green Power programs you hear about actually worked? Experts and financiers are predicting it will take billions of investment dollars and decades to get any meaningful quantity of energy from alternative resources. Maybe not. Maybe not. One of the oldest and most widespread forms of potential energy – methane gas – promises to give those efforts a sizable boost – right now.


TDL-based moisture analyzers can offer high return on investment for refinery

Tunable-Diode Laser-based moisture sensors help ensure long catalyst life, reduce operational costs, and offer the lowers overall cost of ownership. Refineries and chemical plants have long been subjected – perhaps unwittingly - to high costs incurred from failure of conventional moisture analyzer to accurately read moisture intrusion in feedstocks and hydrogen recycle streams, vital to optimizing product yield and catalyst life. Because typical analyzers, such as those based on surface absorption or adsorption, employ sensors that are exposed directly to harsh elements in the streams they monitor, timely and accurate moisture readings may be disrupted within a relatively short period of time. The disruptive operational life leads to substantial costs that can range from exorbitant consumables and maintenance to conceivably hundreds of thousands of dollars for premature catalyst recharging or untimely interruption of continuous processes. The innovative employment of tunable …


PinPoint Precision - Sam Miller, SpectraSensors Inc., USA, examines how a TDL based analyser pinpoints moisture intrusion and trace H2S levels in refinery operations.

  The emergence of tunable diode laser (TDL) based technologies has been a major development in many industries, and has created valuable opportunities for refineries and chemical plants to maximise productivity while avoiding high maintenance costs.   By instantly and accurately pinpointing the presence of moisture, HCl, H2S and other impurities in feedstock and fuel gas streams, the TDL based gas analyser is able to provide significant benefits. Among those are the prevention of foreshortened lifespan of costly catalysts, enhanced assurance of product quality, reduced turnaround recovery times, and avoidance of unscheduled shutdowns.   What is a TDL? A tunable diode laser is a type of semiconductor based laser that can be tuned to optically select a very specific wavelength (or colour) of light. NASA’s jet propulsion laboratory (JPL) developed long wavelength (near infrared) tuneable lasers and processor controls that …


NASA Moisture Analyzer Technology Delivers Imporved Process Control in Hydrocarbon Plants

Ultra-fast and highly accurate, a new Tunable Diode Laser analyzer technology is being adopted by petrochemical plants, refineries and gas processors, reducing maintenance while providing enhanced control over process integrity   TDL Technology   A tunable diode laser (TDL) is a type of semiconductor-based laser that can be tuned to a very specific wavelength (or color) of light. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) developed long wave length (near infrared) tunable lasers and processor controls that enable users to precisely "target" specific molecules and detect trace elements in gas (Figure 1). This technology was vital to research and operations in the Space Station and Mars Polar Lander programs as well as studies on global warming, emissions, weather and climates throughout our world.link


Improve process control in gas plants using tunable diode laser spectroscopy

Tunable diode laser (TDL)-based analyzers (Fig. 1) are increasingly being used in these “pain-point” analytical applications to measure contaminants reliably while reducing maintenance and operating costs.   TDL absorption spectroscopy uses a laser mounted behind a window that protects it from the wear and tear of caustic gas contents while enabling the analyzer to accurately and quickly read varying gas concentrations. The laser does not come into contact with the gas and calibration does not change or drift over time.   Dependable H2O analysis. Impurities, such as H2O and corrosive acids found in many gas streams, are the nemesis of conventional sensors that are directly exposed to the gas stream and those harmful elements.  Over time—and sometimes within a few weeks—those probes become damaged and inaccurate, resulting in costly repair or replacement. In the meantime, corrosion and contamination from problematic …