This study discusses sensor-based, real-time detection and monitoring of emissions generated at a wellsite during a hydraulic fracturing treatment. The sensors recorded live data, which was visualized on dashboards and generated alarms whenever the threshold levels were reached beyond the normal emission rate to tell when the workers were being exposed to unsafe levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) and other noxious elements. Algorithms were also developed to check for fuel adulteration and equipment health, identifying low-performing assets that might have undergone wear and tear.
The sensing device detected emissions using multiple electrochemical sensors that can identify particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10, PM1), carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO₂), sulphur dioxide (SO₂), nitrogen dioxide (NO₂), ozone (O₃), hydrogen sulfide (H₂S), and methane (CH4), along with temperature, humidity levels, and GPS coordinates. These readings were then transferred via an Application Programming Interface (API) to a cloud server, where they were stored in a database along with a timestamp. Advanced data visualization and analytics dashboards were created so that users could monitor direct emissions in real-time.
The sensing device was deployed at various locations: near the pump exhaust (keeping wind flow in mind) to capture outdoor job-related emissions as well as in a closed space to study exhaust efficiency. The sensor successfully captured and transmitted live data of all the gases emitted, without manual calculation. Increased levels of NO₂ were observed after sunset (because NO₂ converts into other derivatives and ozone in sunlight). Algorithms were leveraged to interpolate readings that might be missed by the sensor, due to a power cut or human mishandling, for continuous visualization of emissions taking place. Because the sensor device is customizable to measure emissions data for each type of gas, it will be extremely useful for leak detection for both supplied and produced oil and gas and for checking corrosion in pipelines or wellsite facilities.
Such sensor devices are intrinsically safe, portable, easy to install, scalable, nationally certified, and have GPS tracking enabled. To contribute to environmental sustainability and for the world to see a net-zero emissions future, the oil and gas industry has transformed itself using advanced digital technologies. This pilot study, aimed at directly measuring and visualizing emissions in an industrial setting, is one of the major steps toward more pervasive emission monitoring and helping the industry achieve its net-zero goals.