Request ID:  OPOGSM
Request Title:  Open Path Optical Gas Sensors for Methande
Submitting Organization:  Shell
Response Deadline:  May 17, 2019

Brief explanation of the problem(s) to be solved with the Collaboration:

There are over ~2 million oil and gas wells in North America alone. Airborne surveys show such production operations can be a substantial source of methane emissions. Typically, a large proportion of the total emissions are due to just a few sources: but how to find them?

We seek a radically new, 24/7 monitoring solution that can automatically identify methane sources and report their mass emission rates. This will prompt earlier and better remedial action.

Central to this approach is the need for mass-produced, robust, ultra-low-cost, open-path methane sensors that can transmit data to the cloud for remote analysis. Until now this has only been possible using advanced open-path gas sensors with beams steered across the area of interest.

What is the time frame for the collaboration (when will it start, deadline for results, …)?

The funding opportunity will be in the range USD 150,000 – 300,000 to progress a “proof of concept” in a phased approach over a period of no more than 12 months. There is a possibility of further support by Shell depending on the overall outcome of the initial award.

When reviewing responses, are there any key elements that will factor into the decision process?

We apply the following criteria for consideration:
1. Novel – Is the idea fundamentally different and unproven?
2. Valuable – Could the idea create substantial new value if it works?
3. Doable – Is there a plan to prove the concept quickly and affordably?
4. Relevant – Is the idea relevant to the future of energy?

Brief summary of the progress made so far to address the problem(s):

We have already demonstrated we can remotely detect, locate and quantify gas emission rates. We now seek simpler, cheaper, more robust sensors to enable measurements and monitoring at small, remote, production facilities.

What has already been tried or considered to solve the problem?

See DETAILS section.

What is the technology readiness level (TRL) of the current technology, and briefly explain the technology is at this level?

Most of the players are either academic or early stage startups and overall our list is limited.

Types of collaborations being sought (such as a joint project or contracted project):

Collaboration to proof a concept as outlined in the call for solutions

Do you have any resources to help with this project (specialized equipment, labs, materials, …)?

Resources available are: seed funding, coaching and expertise.

How will this collaboration be funded (will funds be provided for this project, or should a proposal for funding be part of the response)?

The funding opportunity will be in the range USD 150,000 – 300,000 to progress a “proof of concept”.

What are the potential benefits for collaboration partners (i.e., why should they want to work on this project)? Is there an opportunity for partners to commercialize this technology for the primary and/or secondary applications?

Funding: seed, Access to coaching, business model validation with customers, access to fields for proof of concept, access to potential investors like Shell Ventures, our brand.

Will there be any opportunities for sharing the created Intellectual Property from the collaboration?

No – IP is for the start-up/SME.

Beyond the primary application for this technology, what are other potential applications of this technology, which may be of benefit to collaboration partners?

Tbc.

Are there any restrictions or constraints on potential collaborations?

This is depending on the contract discussions between the winner of the call and Shell

Identify any other sources of supporting information to help organizations prepare a response:

https://arpa-e.energy.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/MONITOR_ProgramOverview.pdf

 

DETAILS

We seek optical source and detector technologies suited to large-scale manufacture of simple, low-cost, open-path optical sensors for methane. The goal is a sensor whose deployment cost per well-pad is less than or close to the ARPA-E Monitor programme’s goal of ~3000$ per well pad per year.

We seek a step change in the performance/cost of short open-path optical methane sensors, through use of advanced infra-red sources and detector technologies. We have already demonstrated we can remotely detect, locate and quantify gas emission rates from such data. We now seek simpler, cheaper, more robust sensors to enable measurements and monitoring at small, remote, production facilities.

  1. Our first goal is to model the spectroscopic and optical performance of candidate sources/detectors in the “minimal optics” mode of operation we envisage.
  2. Our second goal is to make a “zeroth order” physical prototype to evaluate the performance achievable by such an approach.

IN SCOPE

  • Mass produce-able Open path optical gas sensing systems.
  • Minimal optics and alignment requirements -no moving parts.
  • High power LED or other solid-state sources for 1.6, 2.3, 3.4 μm and uncooled detectors.
  • Phase-coded beam length range finding techniques,
  • Advanced signal processing.
  • Low power electrical design: ideally solar panel/battery compatible?

OUT OF SCOPE

  • Any commercially available open path gas detection system.
  • Proposals involving: telescopes, mechanical scanning heads, precision optical alignment.
  • Manual alignment or set up and calibration/maintenance.
  • DIAL systems, Solar occultation methods, FTIR systems…
  • Point sensors of any description; including mobile point sources.
  • Fibre optic based systems.
  • Gas imaging cameras,
  • Drones, acoustic detection, electrochemical cells….