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Oil Pipeline Aerial Leak Detection via Ultraviolet Spectroscopy (Project Lightbright)

Environmental Benefits
Clean soil
Consortium members
FlyScan Systems Inc.National Optics Institute (INO)TransCanada Pipelines Ltd.Phillips 66
Year Approved
Year Announced
SDTC Funding
Leveraged Funding
Total Project Value

Lead organization:

FlyScan Systems Inc.


North America has more than 350,000km of liquid hydrocarbon pipelines spread throughout the continent, roughly 37,000km of which are in Canada. Today, pipelines are monitored using a number of methods including continuous and periodic monitoring systems, respectively. In addition to these, routine visual inspections are performed by flyovers over pipeline right of ways (RoWs) in order to identify any potential disturbances or issues uncovered by other leak-detection methods. FlyScan Systems has developed an innovative airborne remote sensor that can detect small leaks from buried, liquid-hydrocarbon pipelines. Utilizing a special form of spectroscopy developed to detect specific emissions coming from liquid hydrocarbons using a custom-made Ultraviolet laser, the Flyscan technology allows pipeline operators flying over pipeline RoWs to detect crude-oil or refined-product leaks with a sensitivity that is at least one order of magnitude better than existing computational methods. The solution is also cost competitive as it piggybacks on existing routine aerial-visual inspections.


SDTC Annual Statistics 2016-2017 Image