Methane Emissions Compliance: Optical Gas Imaging
All right. Well, good to see everybody. Thank you for being here. And thank you again to the Energy Drone and Robotics Coalition for giving us all the opportunity to talk about these topics and related to methane strategies and methane application and and all the different technologies that are swirling around that kind of detection and visualization of hydrocarbon gases and mainly being here the topic of methane. So my name is Jeff Leake, and I'm the vice president of sales for Sierra Olympia Technologies.
We're based out of the Hood River, Oregon area, and we're a manufacturer of thermal imaging cameras systems, mid wave long wave and short wave infrared systems. And we do specialty cameras. And one of those specialty cameras is a topic we're going to talk about today, which is called an optical gas imaging camera that just about everybody in this audience is probably very familiar with.
So our company was established in 1995. Our president, Chris Johnston, started the company actually in Seattle, Washington, and then around 2010, actually, we moved down to Hood River, Oregon, right on the banks of the Columbia River between Washington State and Oregon. If you go down to bullet point number four, we had to have a name change that went into effect at the beginning of this year. There's an exclusion area in the United States for the ability to use the word Olympic. And we when we moved down to Hood River, was probably nobody ever did any kind of name checks or that sort of thing. But we wanted to do some trademarking.
And when we started that process, the United States Olympic Committee contacted us and said, Oh, by the way, you're not in the Seattle, Washington area where you can use the word Olympic. And so we had to change the name of the company to Sierra Olympia Technologies. So that's we're still the same company.
And I've been around all of this time. So moving on from there, the topic here that we're going to discuss, or I'm going to discuss is the real world applications for methane and hydrocarbon emissions and compliance as it relates to handheld portable OGI cameras, OGI cameras for crewed or uncrewed systems, manned unmanned or drones, and then OGI cameras for ground robot. Is that obviously down on the show floor and the expo floor, we're seeing a lot more robots these days. And and they are a thing that is going to be happening in the future.
And then finally, optical gas imaging for fixed mounted continuous monitoring. So it's been discussed all morning from the various panels and everything about 0000a and the current standard that has been in place for a number of years now. And for OGI, that standard is 60 grams per hour and it's a 5050 mixture of methane and propane. That kind of equates to about 10,000 ppm.
And it's using a quarter inch orifice. So this is the current regulation that's been in place that we've been using OGI cameras for many years. So the new proposed rules 0000b and 0000c are looking to target 17 grams per hour for methane and or 18.5 grams for butane, and that would be at two meters. You'd have to be able to do that with an OGI camera. And then also at a delta T of a around five degrees centigrade and then at one meter per second.
So that is the proposed basically rule that is going to potentially go into place with 0000b that's already been established by the United Nations and OGMP 2 that is what they are going to do, and that applies pretty much to the rest of the world. So one of the things that we've been working on and we have a kind of an independent company that's evaluating and making sure and validating that just like we did for 0000a that our cameras will be able to meet these new rules that will be very important. So us as a manufacturer, we're jumping out in front of that and making sure that we're going to be in compliance or validated for that.
And industry can obviously start using it immediately when these rules go into place. It's also been talked about earlier for the super emitters. Those are at the 100 kilograms per hour for methane. And then it gives you standards about when you have to be able to fix those once you've identified them. Okay. Our technology, the what we refer to our cameras are called Ventus cameras.
All of the product names that we use in our company are oriented around the the word wind, because in Hood River, Oregon, on the Columbia River there, it's very well known for kiteboarding and windsurfing. And so and the state parks and everything else around that areas all utilize those names. So we we borrow those names as well. But our camera technology uses what's called a hot midway infrared detector.
And hot actually stands for high operating temperature. So for many, many years when we first started using Midway, cooled infrared cameras, they were mainly based on a material called Indium. antimonite or mercad telluride and those materials had to be cooled to cryogenic temperatures, about -200 degrees centigrade or 77 degrees Kelvin. So over the last five years, the United States defense industry helped pay for the development of new detectors.
And so we've been at the forefront of being able to implement that into our cameras. So the high operating temperature just means that the sensor is now operating at about 150 degrees Kelvin versus 77 degrees Kelvin or about -100 degrees C versus -200 degrees C. The benefit of that is that the integrated dewar cooler assemblies are much smaller.
They're lower power, they're lighter weight. And it was with that in mind that we developed the Ventus and we really specifically wanted to target being able to utilize the systems for drone or UAV crewed, uncrewed type of systems and handheld portable products to help miniaturize the technology over what it had been previously for the previous 20 years. So this was a really huge technological jump. And the other thing that we did is we introduced the technology for the first time with a VGA resolution sensor, 640 by 512, everything to date had always been quarter VGA or 320 by 240 resolution. So by doing this, we were able to increase the resolution you get four times the number of pixels.
We have better sensitivity. So the whole goal of that is to be able to see smaller leaks at further distances. And what we see coming in the future is then moving to high definition. So moving out to 1280 by 1024 type of sensors. And again with that, those same things in mind about being able to detect and visualize smaller leaks at greater distances. The other thing about the high operating temperature sensors is the type of coolers that we use versus what we were previously using have limited life as far as how many operating hours they were generally rated for, which was about 8 to 10000 hours today with these high operating temperature midway sensors, we've increased that.
We've doubled that to 16 to 20000. And now some of our newest cameras are employing coolers that are going to last about 35, 36000 hours. This is super important because as we start looking at fixed mounted, continuous monitoring, the biggest concern by industry is having to service the product on a frequent basis.
And what we are trying to do is get in front of that so that once you install these types of systems in a permanent application monitoring 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, that you'll be able to have that installed and be able to run for two years, three years, four years, and eventually five years without having to do any maintenance. And so by having this type of technology in enables us to be able to achieve those goals. These are the detectable gases.
This is inside of the OGI cameras is a narrow band pass cold Filter. So we take the mid wave infrared region, which is typically around 3 to 5 microns. We put a cold filter inside of the dewar section of the camera and it's a narrow band and it's basically narrowed down to about 3.2 to 3.4 microns. It's where all of these enes and anes basically emit or absorb at and that is how we're all able to visualize the gas. Okay.
And then the second part of the equation is then having this delta t that was mentioned earlier in, in the rule, and that is you want some delta T between the the gas and that background and that helps you better visualize that relative to a warmer or a colder background. Typically our cameras are able to discern that down to much lower temperature delta T than the five degrees that's being specified 0000b we're generally down to a one degree, two degree centigrade kind of delta T, and we also have a lot of image processing capabilities that help enhance the contrast of the image. And so that we are able to kind of be able to reach out and see these smaller leaks again at further distances. So here's some applications that you're probably fairly familiar with, but maybe some of them are not. There's some new things that are happening in the industry and this is one of them. So all of our products or cameras is components.
And what we do is we enable technology partners to create finished solutions. So everything that we have basically in when you come by our booth, you'll see they're all open frame configuration with the electronics exposed. But all of our customers take our products and they integrate it into something that becomes a finished used good. This is a new product through a company called Champion X. It's located here in the Houston area. Many of you may know of Champion X as a petrochemical chemical type company.
I've been around for over 100 years and they doubled down on on emissions and they have created a whole business unit basically built around that. They've been acquiring companies, but also they have have individuals that really understand the OGI technology, really one of the foremost authorities and kind of the grandfather of the OGI's name is David Furry. His company was purchased by Champion X. So what's unique about this particular camera is it was it's designed specifically to meet 0000b , 0000c and Appendix K, and it has within it a positioning and navigational system.
So you take all of your assets that you may have an SAP or JD Edwards or Oracle, whatever SEMs system that you have, you upload all of those assets and everything is geotagged at your facility and with the handheld camera, with this positioning system, which is called a V slam technology, when the operator takes the camera and holds it up to their eye, what it does is it creates and puts pins on every asset in the field of view that has to be scanned. Those pins are in white basically at that point in time. Then once you dwell on the target for 5 to 10, second, whatever your standard operating procedure will be, it will turn the pin to green. That indicates that it has been scanned. So for traceability and auditable reasons. Now, you know that the person actually looked at and scanned the piece of equipment.
And the other part of it is, is then if there is a leak, that pin can turn to a caution or a critical or a yellow or red color, basically. So this is something very unique and very innovative. It adds quantification capability. It is certified for a tech certification class one, DIV two.
And these are just some new things that are happening within that, all based on the type of sensor that we offer. There's another company down on the floor. They're called MFE Inspection Solutions, and they've done a different kind of a version of the camera and used using our product in a multiple use kind of a way where they have a quadruped robot from Boston Dynamics called Spot and they have the camera, the OGI camera integrated on that with a an acoustical device and that allows them to be able to listen for the leak where the camera actually visualizes. So, you know exactly where the point source of the leak is and doing autonomous routes using the Boston Dynamics quadruped. So you can then remove it with a quick release and then make it into a handheld system. And the product is actually controlled just by an Android smartphone, super slick, very lightweight, and it's got a long life battery that lasts about 4 hours on it.
And then everybody is familiar with a lot of the drone platforms that you see down there. And our our product is integrated on many different ones. And in these slides right here, this is a company called Free Fly. It's a product called Astro. A couple of months ago, well, just about a month ago, Sony has decided to jump into the business.
They have a product called the AirPeak, and they are going to be in the industrial inspection business and they have integrated our OGI camera onto their platform with a visible light camera and an optional TD lost laser. Also down on the show floor is a drone in a box solution from a company called Percepto based out of Israel and with significant operations here in the United States. And in the bottom left hand corner is a company over in Europe called Evolved Dynamics. And then the most used drone probably in the world for industrial inspections, the DJI M 300 and the previous model, the M2 ten. And then here coming up in the future, with the introduction of their new M 350, you'll see the the camera integrated onto those platforms as well.
And again, those will be combined typically with TD loss sniffers and in some cases people are also working on doing this optically, doing quantification optically and not using a sensor, you know, just using the image itself because a limited time, I'm not going to go through some of these just again, some of the aerial footage that I think everybody has seen the you know, the advantages of the UAV's or the ability to cover large areas in a very short period of time to be able to do that at varying height . We develop this mode called a gas enhancement mode that actually colonizes the gas plume, makes it easier for the human eye to be able to to a certain where the leak is actually coming from. But the, you know, the sharpness of the clarity of the image is is really, really significant.
And it's making operators, you know, jobs and being able to find these kinds of emissions a lot easier and faster. We're also doing manned systems as well. This is probably one of the most mature applications integrating them into stabilized gimbals and flying these on helicopters and on fixed wing aircraft. You know, again, here you're not having to deal with beyond line of sight issues at this point.
So this is a very viable way, especially to do, you know, very significantly large areas or linear assets like pipelines. So here you're seeing kind of overlays of the the OGI on to the visible light with laser range finders that precisely indicate exactly where the leak is and at what distance it is. Besides seeing where the leak is, it itself came in again for traditional pipeline patrols that people are doing for right away inspections. Now, we have companies that are integrating these on to like Cessna aircrafts and then larger aircraft, UAVs to come that will be more V tall oriented or fixed wing as we get waivers for beyond line of Sight. And then as I had mentioned a little bit earlier, the quadruped type of robots really believe that this is going to be, you know, a significant, significant area of growth for OGI and their ability, you know, with all the different manufacturers that are coming out for both tract wheeled and walking robots.
And the last slide do here is on fixed mounted continuous monitoring type of applications. And so here is where you have permanent mounted. And the things to note here is again, with this technology that we're using for a long life cooler to, you know, improve reliability. But the other thing that we're working on is a way to because as companies want to scale and be able to do this continuously, the state of Colorado, for instance, is, you know, kind of setting new standards, Any new well pad that goes in before I mean, as soon as you start putting a drill bit or anything into the ground, you have to start monitoring it too. When the well comes in through its completion process.
And then six months after, you have to monitor that site 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and you just can't do that with any other technology except fixed mounted. And so this is where as as we see these sites, you know, grow in size and complexity. But because of the cost of the sensors, we're working on new technology to to help lower that and increase the reliability and the life of that.
So I'm going to stop there since my time's up. Anybody have any questions? Yes, sir. Jeff, thanks for your time. Yeah, you talked about oh, sorry.
You talked about your new technology and thanks for all the description of that. Is that ready? Is that already deployed? Are you still. No, we're still developing it right now. The goal is we're deploying it in in the Permian.
And for this summer, we'll be testing it basically and making sure that it's going to work the way that we believe. And, you know, it will be much miniaturized. It's a non cool technology and but it is still an imaging technology. It's going to be used for methane only. It is not for all of the other hydrocarbon gases. And it's going to have high reliability, minimum of ten years.
And and then try to get the cost down. But we have to we've done all the I guess you call it experimental testing at our facilities and outside with stage leaks. Now we've got to go put it into practice.
So once we have that at the end of this operation, then we'll be talking a lot more about it. Okay, Thanks. I just got a question in the back. Yep. Yeah, Yeah.
Just real quick, what kind of reporting software or delivery deliverable is available for these systems? Is it a PDF or recorded format? Well, so it depends on kind of the end use case. But what we supply is we supply what are called software goodies or graphical user interfaces, SDK is an API protocol because people want to be able to take our product. They're integrating it into all these solutions and we have to be able to give them the commands set basically so that they can control the product.
And then we deliver all different types of interfaces so that they can stream the video data to however that they want to present that to the world. So we have, you know, from USB interfaces H.2645, you know, IP video streams, gigabit Ethernet, MIMPI, all these different kind of video outputs. But for us, as far as we don't have a kind of a in product solution that we deliver as a report because again, our product is more considered like an OEM product if somebody is going to take and integrate into something else. So we have to give them all the hooks and capability to be able to do that.
And another question, I told him I had that integration with Spot was really interesting. Some of our more regulated lines that require sites smell and sound. Yeah. And so I was wondering if even though the dog can't smell but the imaging with the sound, does that satisfy the EPA requirements? So there is definitely so the approach that people are going to have to take is you'll have to apply for a waiver to the EPA that is a part of what B and C, if you can prove your method, you have a standard operating procedure that meets essentially the minimum requirements of the letter of the law.
They will make exceptions. And so that is going to be the key. And one of my biggest messages that I, you know, we're trying to stress to industry is the rule pretty much specifically focuses on handheld ground based inspections. Right. But everybody knows that that is not the only method.
And the EPA realizes that as well. But when they started writing this and that's why there's so many comments, you know, thousands and thousands of comments, because people want to use other technologies. And so the EPA is going to be very open to listening. So I think the answer to the question is, you know, something like Spot is very powerful because it's like a pack mule and you can put all kinds of sensors on it.
You know, one of the ways that they're meeting the Atex and class rated areas now is they're putting the lal's on spot. So as soon as it sniffs in something, they can either have it power down right then and there or it can be removed from the area. So all of these things are happening in real time and, you know, so maybe they will be able to sniff and smell awesome. Any other questions?
Anybody else? Okay. I guess that's. Thanks, Jeff. All right. Thank you.