OHS Canada Magazine

MSA’s Fixed Gas & Flame Detection Products for the Natural Gas Industry

April 2, 2015
Health & Safety

April 2015, CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. – America’s drive to remove its dependence on foreign energy sources significantly relies upon a safe and affordable conversion to natural gas. Public and private fleet vehicles continue to migrate to the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) as this cleaner-burning fuel offers lower fuel costs and lower emissions. The significant increase in the supply of natural gas, brought about by technical advancements in producing gas from shale deposits, is revolutionizing the gas industry.

LNG (liquefied natural gas) and CNG (compressed natural gas) are common methane fuels used by long haul trucking firms as well as municipal fleet vehicles, also known as NGVs (natural gas vehicles). Natural gas leaks with an ignition source present can result in explosions and fire. As private companies and municipalities convert their fleets from diesel to LNG -or CNG-fueled vehicles to reduce fuel costs and emissions, NGV maintenance and storage facilities must be constructed, overhauled or renovated to include safety products to manage leaks of LNG/CNG fuels.

NGV facilities management personnel must meet safety and building code monitoring requirements specific to natural gas fuels to help ensure safe environments within these sites. In addition, such facilities may be located in public areas, an obvious concern for those working and living nearby. With this migration to LNG and CNG, use of gas and flame detection products is necessary to manage these facilities safely due to potential methane or gas leakage.

Accuracy, timing, precision of tie-ins with ventilation systems, and avoidance of false alarms are key to the benefits of flame and gas detection systems for natural gas. MSA Ultima® XIR Gas Monitors and FlameGard® 5 MSIR Flame Detectors for LNG and CNG markets offer superior performance, rugged environmental durability, lower cost of ownership, fast speed of IR sensor response through effective leak detection, and significant reduction in the number of costly false alarms. Ultima XIR Gas Monitors using infrared technology to sense for combustible gases and vapors can quickly and reliably detect LNG gas leaks. FlameGard 5 MSIR Flame Detectors using four multi-spectrum infrared sensors and Neural Network Technology (NNT) enable these detectors to distinguish between fire and non-fire events from distances of up to 230 feet, providing superior false alarm rejection. MSA controllers provide intelligent, high performance data acquisition and data logging control for fixed gas and flame detection systems. Web-based open Ethernet connectivity and data monitoring functions allow for a wide range of monitoring and historical logging functions.

As the number of alternative fuel vehicles on the highways increase along with the amount of fueling, maintenance and exporting facilities, reliable gas and fire detection products are needed to ensure safety. Reducing the costs of false alarms and keeping lives and property protected are the goals of MSA safety products.


To learn more about MSA’s Fixed Gas and Flame Detection product line, visit www.MSAgasdetection.com or call 1-800-MSA-INST.


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Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) are both clean-burning, relatively low priced, produced domestically and considered alternative fuels. As such, private vehicles powered by natural gas will become increasingly visible on U.S. highways. This mean more and more commercial and industrial fueling stations – some along highways, some in fleet management facilities and some of a portable nature that takes LNG to work sites in remote locations.

The large LNG/CNG fueling stations envisioned in these expansion efforts have large containment areas with fuel tanks that trucks must fill periodically because there are generally no pipelines leading directly to LNG stations. LNG is then directly pumped into individual LNG vehicles.

Most of these stations are located in public areas. As a result, county and state requires that both gas and flame detectors be installed for safety. The average LNG station will use about six gas and four flame detectors in the containment areas with a gas detector also mounted on each LNG fueling dispenser.


Maintenance and storage facilities

As private companies and municipalities convert their fleets from diesel to LNG -or CNG-fueled vehicles to reduce fuel costs and emissions, NGV maintenance and storage facilities must be constructed, overhauled or renovated to include safety products to manage leaks of LNG/CNG fuels. These facilities often take the form of large four to ten bay door buildings with twenty to thirty foot high ceilings. Local requirements call for gas detectors in case one of the vehicles in for work has a faulty component that can cause of leak of either LNG or CNG. Some large municipal facilities have upwards of 100 gas and flame detectors.

CNG vehicles can be subject to leaks due to premature natural gas cylinder release, typically caused by use of defective or incorrect pressure relief valves. LNG vehicle tanks that are stored within warming conditions can also be subject to pressure relief valve gas leaks, as well as liquid leaks.* If NGVs are stored within enclosed maintenance facilities, potentially hazardous gas and vapor buildup may occur.

However, local public safety requirements may stipulate the installation of both gas and flame detectors to address safety concerns via the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). When a fleet maintenance/storage facility natural gas detection system activates, bay doors open, heaters are powered off, ventilation fans and louvers activate, and in most cases the fire department is notified. Heating systems may deactivate. Automated controllers are needed to activate doors, fans and heaters. Integrated measurement, interface to PLC and display and recording platforms, that when equipped with MSA’s extensive line of transmitters and sensors, form comprehensive gas detection solutions.


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