Methane Leak Detection


As the number of natural gas and biogas plants increase worldwide, the detection of fugitive methane – a major component of natural gas and biogas – is becoming increasingly important.

Natural gas and biogas belong to the most important fuel types in today`s world economy. A safe distribution of these fuels through long-range gas pipelines, as well as through city gas distribution networks, is essential. Methane emissions from gas pipelines pose a major safety hazard as well as a serious challenge for climate protection due to the greenhouse effect, which is more potent than CO₂. Unfortunately, many of these distribution networks are old, prone to leaks and sometimes very difficult to reach with conventional means of transport. Therefore, portable and unmanned leak detection is becoming increasingly important.

Challenges in the Industry

Methane detection on pipelines and city gas distribution networks present special challenges for the measuring equipment mainly due to unstable ambient conditions.


Solar radiation, temperature fluctuations and exhaust gases influence the measuring accuracy, emerging winds can very strongly dilute a methane cloud from a leak. In addition, very large areas must be checked which requires a fast response time from the measuring device.
Once the source of the leak has been found, the question of its origin often remains. If there are additional biogenic methane sources close to the leakage, further clarification is advisable in order to avoid expensive and possibly unnecessary work on a natural gas pipeline.

TDLS Combined with a Small Footprint

Tunable Diode Laser Spectroscopy (TDLS) is already an established measurement method to detect methane and other hydrocarbons. Key advantages are the quick response time, high selectivity, low detection limits and a wide dynamic range – from sub ppm detection up to % level. With a small unmatched footprint, the new LGD Compact can fulfill all requirements for a successfull integration into portable systems. Due to the low power consumption, it is best suited for battery-powered operation that can last an entire working day. The system is calibration free and has an extremely low zero drift. Therefore a new span and offset is required only once a year.
With the option of measuring ethane as an additional target gas, the detected methane sources can be checked back to their origin in a matter of seconds. This eliminates the need for a second measuring device and decreases the time required for checking with other measuring methods.

Wide Range of Integration Options

Thanks to its size and flexible integration options the LGD Compact can be used for almost any leak detection application from upstream to downstream.


Its long-term stability is a key benefit in stationary applications. Even after years of use without regular recalibration you may not see any significant loss of performance. The integration possibilities of the LGD Compact are limitless when it comes to vehicle leak detection — especially in small scooters or on a drone. There is always enough space thanks to its compact size and weight of only 600 g. This small footprint in combination with low power consumption enables also very difficult applications like offshore leak detection and underwater research projects.