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HoverGuard™ will transform safety and environmental measurement capabilities for operators of millions of kilometers of pipelines traversing the globe.

Pipelines often cross inaccessible terrain to supply industrial and domestic gas. Operators of these networks must ensure the safety, integrity and reliability of their pipelines but accurate detection of odorless and invisible gas leaks can be challenging and expensive. ABB’s latest addition to its ABB Ability™ Mobile Gas Leak Detection System, HoverGuard™, provides the solution by finding leaks faster and more reliably than ever before.

HoverGuard detects, quantifies and maps leaks up to 100 meters from natural gas distribution and transmission pipelines, gathering lines, storage facilities, and other potential sources quickly, safely and reliably. It automatically generates comprehensive digital reports that summarize results and can be shared in minutes after a survey.

The cloud-connected, multi-gas solution is also the first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)-based system to quantify the three most important greenhouse gases methane, carbon dioxide and water vapor continuously while flying. Each greenhouse gas affects the environment differently and is present in the air in different amounts. The extremely fast response and high precision of the analyzer allow scientists and researchers to reliably quantify greenhouse gas fluxes which provides important information when studying the complex environmental processes affecting climate and pollution.

Patented cavity enhanced laser absorption spectroscopy detects methane with a sensitivity more than 1,000 times higher and over 10 times faster than conventional leak detection tools. This sensitivity and speed allows HoverGuard to detect leaks while flying at altitudes of 40 meters, or higher, and at speeds greater than 88 km/h. It can cover 10-15 times more land area per minute by operating on low-cost commercial UAV capable of carrying a payload of 3 kg.

“HoverGuard represents an important step-change in gas leak detection and for the environment.” said Doug Baer, Ph.D., ABB Global Product Line Manager of Laser Analyzers. “Previously inspectors had to rely on slow, qualitative, analog sensors or expensive delicate cameras to find leaks. Our groundbreaking solution effectively probes locations otherwise inaccessible by either walking or driving. It will increase safety across the pipeline network whether in remote or urban environments, by detecting and mapping natural gas leaks around hard-to-reach sites such as bridges, areas with right-of-way restrictions or vegetation coverage, gas storage assets and pipelines.”

HoverGuard complements ABB’s existing gas leak detection offering with the vehicle-based MobileGuard™, hand-held MicroGuard™ and stationary EverGuard™ (to be launched later in 2021). They are all designed to operate independently. Combining them provides the most comprehensive platform to detect, map and quantify leaks with unprecedented speed, reliability and accuracy throughout the entire natural gas infrastructure, including upstream, midstream, downstream, and gas utilities.

ABB is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 105,000 talented employees in over 100 countries

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