With the increase worldwide demand for hydrocarbon fuels and the vast development of new fuel production and delivery infrastructure installations around the world, there is a growing need for reliable fuel leak detection technologies to provide safety and reduce environmental risks. Hydrocarbon leaks (gas or liquid) pose an extreme danger and need to be detected very quickly to avoid potential disasters. Gas leaks have the greatest potential for causing damage due to the explosion risk from the dispersion of gas clouds. This paper describes progress towards the development of a fast response, high sensitivity, distributed fiber optic fuel leak detection (HySense™) system based on the use of an optical fiber that uses a hydrocarbon sensitive fluorescent coating to detect the presence of fuel leaks (vapors and liquids) present in close proximity along the length of the sensor fiber. The HySense™ system operates in two modes, leak detection and leak localization, and will trigger an alarm within seconds of exposure contact. The fast and accurate response of the sensor provides a reliable vapor and fluid leak detection for pipelines, tanks, airports, pumps, and valves to detect and minimize any potential catastrophic damage.
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