Analytical Instrumentation & Environmental Monitoring


Continuous extractive on-line gas analysis - unlocking optimisation opportunities

May 2015 Analytical Instrumentation & Environmental Monitoring

To address these opportunities, Endress+Hauser has been acquiring companies with unique capabilities and expertise, offering advanced analytical solutions to the energy, oil and gas and biotechnology industries. SpectraSensors and Kaiser Optical Systems are two such companies that have been leading the way in opening up new fields of application utilising the latest laser technologies and better sample conditioning solutions.

Operators of process control systems need to maintain a comprehensive picture of what is happening in the process at any time. They want information not only on process conditions, but also on sample composition – without time lag and without impacting production. It may be a pipe dream, but it’s one that could soon become reality in many applications thanks to advanced analysis.

“Advanced analysis satisfies the needs of our customers who want to control product quality during operation,” says Matthias Altendorf, CEO of the Endress+Hauser Group. Advances in the field of spectroscopy are playing an especially important role in creating diverse opportunities for fast, non-destructive material inspections. “Our strategy is to make these technologies better and easier to use for the world of process control.”

Traditional sampling systems

Historically, the solution for analysing process streams has been based on sampling techniques which suffer from significant latency (of the order of tens of minutes, to hours) between the sampling time and when an analytical result is available. Such solutions incorporate moving parts, which are subject to wear, require regular re-calibration and are expensive to maintain requiring replacement electro-chemical sensor elements, costly cleaning solutions, reagents and calibration materials.

These drawbacks result in:

• The inability to optimise control because analytical results are not available in time to make corrective process changes.

• Potential sensor fouling / contamination requiring regular cleaning / replacement.

• Poor availability.

• High total cost of ownership (TCO).

SpectraSensors and Kaiser Optical Systems

SpectraSensors and Kaiser Optical Systems specialise in the application of complementary aspects of spectroscopy to address opportunities in continuous stream analysis, while overcoming the shortcomings of traditional analysis techniques and sampling systems for advanced process stream analysis.

Advanced analysis technologies from these companies are reliable and highly precise. The benefits offered by their solutions include:

• The ability to implement control optimisation based on timely analytical results.

• Non-destructive sampling because systems are non-contact.

• High availability because the systems are low maintenance.

• Lower lifetime TCO vs. analysers utilising traditional sampling technologies.

SpectraSensors

SpectraSensors, a leading global provider of laser-based online analysers, was formed in 1999 as a spin-off of the renowned Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which was tasked with developing a form of laser spectroscopy on behalf of NASA for the detection of minute quantities of water in the Martian atmosphere. The company has been part of the Endress+Hauser Group since 2012.

The company’s technology relies on tuneable diode lasers that operate at a very specific wavelength, thus achieving optimal results with each analytical task. Each analyser is capable of measuring any one of the following: moisture H2O, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, oxygen or ammonia. The analyser is factory configured for one of these and for trace or percentage concentration. Current applications for the analysers include process control and monitoring in the production, transport, storage and processing of natural gas, in refineries and petrochemical plants, and for atmospheric weather measurements.

Contactless laser absorption spectroscopy offers multiple advantages over conventional electrochemical or capacitive sensors and infrared technology. The analysers are fast (latency of the order of tens of seconds), precise, immune to contaminants and low maintenance. Laser spectroscopy represents a breakthrough technology in many applications where reliable measurements have not previously been available, such as natural gas pipelines, which are prone to internal corrosion due to the presence of traces of moisture and hydrogen sulphide.

Illustrating the significant returns offered as a result of on-time analysis, SpectraSensors analysers used in the measurement of moisture content in the desiccant dryer outlet gas streams of molecular sieves used in natural gas, LNG and syngas processing plants, have enabled operators to extend the time between desiccant drying regeneration cycles by up to 20%. This translates directly into extended life of desiccant charge and offers savings that could equate to over R1m in sieve replacement costs over a ten-year period.

Kaiser Optical Systems

Kaiser Optical Systems was formed in 1979 as an offshoot from the University of Michigan to develop optical systems for the avionics market. Ten years later, the team’s holographic notch filter caused a technological revolution: the option of blocking a narrow band of light around a specific wavelength led to a crucial simplification of the Raman measuring method. Building on this knowledge base the company pioneered the application of this technology into the process world, introducing in situ liquid sample probes in 1997, probes for solids analysis in the life science industry in 2006 and for gas-phase measurements in the petrochemical industry in 2008. Endress+Hauser acquired Kaiser Optical Systems from its parent company Rockwell Collins in 2013.

Kaiser Optical Systems is a world leader in Raman spectrographic instrumentation and applied holographic technology. Principal products include Raman sensors and instrumentation and advanced holographic components for spectroscopy, telecommunications, astronomy and ultra-fast sciences. The products are deployed in research laboratories as well as in the process industry, including life sciences, chemical, petrochemical, power and energy industries. Raman spectroscopy can be applied to solids, liquids and gases in order to analyse the composition and material properties of particles as tiny as a human hair or as large as an entire planet. Emphasising the increasing importance of insitu advanced analysis, Ian R. Lewis, head of marketing at Kaiser Optical Systems, explains, “Thanks to continuous in-process measurements, we can detect and record material changes in real time.”

E+H consolidation in South Africa

Since the acquisition of these companies into the Endress+Hauser Group, sales operations of the acquired companies in various countries have been consolidated into the Endress+Hauser regional structures.

The gas products and solutions from SpectraSensors and Kaiser Optical Systems products are now available through Endress+Hauser South Africa, which has employed experienced staff from the previous South African representative company, Lazer Analytical, to provide continuity of support and customer relationships.

The power of light

Spectroscopic technology simplifies materials analysis while creating totally new ways to control and monitor processes.

Spectroscopy is a technology that relies on light radiation to analyse various substances. The extent to which the light is absorbed or scattered provides information about the composition and properties of the substance being analysed.

Expertise in the application of this technology for process measurements is a common thread shared by both Spectra-Sensors and Kaiser Optical Systems, two recent acquisitions of the Endress+Hauser Group.

SpectraSensors analysers mainly rely on various forms of absorption spectroscopy. This technology measures how a gas absorbs light radiation across different frequencies in the near infrared range.

Kaiser Optical Systems utilises Raman spectroscopy, a technology that analyses how a laser light source interacts with the molecules of the sample. Individual laser photons transfer energy to molecules, whereupon these molecules emit new photons. The company developed the holographic single probe in which all components in a gas sample, including H2, N2 and O2, can be measured with results that are transparent to moisture in the vapour phase.

The difference in energy between the incoming and emitted photon causes a shift in frequency from the excitation wavelength that can be detected. This form of light scattering creates a fingerprint for each substance.

Complex technology, simple application

Absorption and Raman spectroscopy each have advantages and disadvantages and corresponding application potential and restrictions. What they have in common is that they are reliable, highly precise, easy to use and require little maintenance.

Across various industries there is a growing reliance on advanced spectroscopy for on-line gas analysis. This approach has far-reaching potential given that the time-consuming and complex task of extracting samples and analysing them in the laboratory is eliminated. The result is that customers have continuous control of quality and the ability to constantly optimise their processes.

For more information contact Carmine Canale, Endress+Hauser, +27 (0)11 262 8000, carmine.canale@za.endress.com, www.za.endress.com



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