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The reliable in-situ measurement of hydrogen in multiple gas process streams is something that refinery and petrochemical plant process control engineers could have done earlier, but so far never may have this year
in a world premiere the Norwegian laser-based solution provider Neo Monitors developed a method for measuring hydrogen in situ - the LaserGas II SP H2. This is a quantum leap in the measurement of process gas flows and represents an important and innovative enhancement to Neo Monitors' existing Infrared Diode Laser Adsorption Spectroscopy (TDLS).
In South Africa, the specialized engineering firm RTS Africa Engineering Neo Monitors oversees on-site and other African control instruments countries. Neo Monitors has been manufacturing TDLS-based instruments for monitoring a variety of industrial process streams for many years. So far, however, it has not been possible to develop and produce a system specially adapted to hydrogen.
"With the introduction of the LaserGas II SP H2, Neo Monitors has solved this problem, so that process engineers now use hydrogen in a mixture of gases," explains RTS Africa Engineering MD Ian Fraser .
In addition to the LaserGas II SP H2, Neo Monitors also has the LaserGas II MP H2, an extractive multi-pass solution for applications with higher sensitivity requirements; or wherever a solution in situ is not possible.
The advantage of the new instrument is that the response times are fractions of seconds. So far, normal hydrogen detection instruments have been quite slow, being due, inter alia, to absorption or thermal conductivity.
"In process control, one has to wait for a minute or more for results. This has a significant impact on the efficiency of the process and ultimately on product quality," says Fraser.
He also notes that hydrogen molecules have long been considered non-absorbing in the infrared region. "That's actually wrong, but with the redesign of its analyzers, Neo Monitors has achieved unprecedented sensitivity - all the way down to the tiny absorption levels required to monitor hydrogen," he continues.
In addition, the new in situ technology will not only bring benefits to the petrochemical and oil refining industries; but for every industrial process - for example, chemical production - where the exhaust gases generated contain hydrogen, says Fraser.
Because this laser gas technology has zero zero drift - a continuous health check option - and no consumables needed, the maintenance costs of the new analyzers are very low.
He adds that the challenge is to find an absorption line that is not blocked by the absorption line of another gas that is also present; and find a laser capable of detecting the frequency of the absorption line once it has been detected.
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