H2 Production

Customer reference

H2 Production, part of Norwegian CCB Energy, is a hydrogen production company established at the Energy Park just outside Bergen in Norway. The company offers clean hydrogen from natural gas with integrated carbon capture. Per day, the plant can produce up to one ton of hydrogen.

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“But it really worked! We found a very small leak. For the Sorama CAM iV64Ex to work under such conditions was a very good selling point"

– Quote Richard Ougendal, Technical Manager at CCB Energy

H2 Production predicts revolutionary change in detection

Skeptical at first

Producing hydrogen is not without risk. As hydrogen is highly flammable, strict precautions need to be taken. Sorama got in contact with H2 Production during the development of the CAM iV64Ex and asked if H2P wanted to test the new acoustic ATEX camera. Although H2P was skeptical of yet another ‘too good to be true’ solution, they were also eager to try it and curious to see if an acoustic camera really could detect hydrogen leakage.

Hard to detect

“Hydrogen is very hard to detect”, says Richard Ougendal, Technical Manager at CCB Energy. “It’s odorless and colorless and even when it catches on fire, it’s hard to observe as it hardly has visible flames. It’s key for us to find hydrogen leaks before they are a threat and before they get ignited. If left untreated, very small leaks can lead to a bigger accumulation of energy release which will lead to an explosion if it gets ignited.”

Hydrogen leak detection solution at H2 production Norway

"It’s a huge benefit for us that Sorama’s acoustic camera can be used from a distance and still detect a leak that is in an area that is hard to get to."

Mitigate risk

“We have designed the plant in such a way that it’s very open plan and there are less pockets where the gas can accumulate. This means a small leak can go unnoticed for quite a long time as it will mix with the air. But if the hydrogen is in the wrong place, like a room or a tank, it can become very dangerous, very fast. We have done what we can to mitigate the risk of an explosion. However, we don’t want any leaks. Period.”

Detection from a distance

“We take hydrogen production very seriously. We want to detect any possible leaks immediately and we don’t want any leaks to go unnoticed. We have been using traditional gas detectors, which means you need to be really close to the leak. This is not always possible when you have a lot of tanks and pipes and construction, and you need to navigate your arm or your whole body to get in between to see if there is a leak. It’s a huge benefit for us that Sorama’s acoustic camera can be used from a distance and still detect a leak that is in an area that is hard to get to.”

Minimalize human errors

“With traditional gas detectors you need to be close and take your time. If you sweep too fast, you will pass the leak without getting enough gasses to detect.  We can’t use other solutions, because it’s a noisy plant with very tight spaces. We do daily, weekly and monthly routines with the gas detectors, where you must point the tube at every potential leak point and hold it there. With this repetitive process, we are prone to human errors. Sorama’s solution solves this problem.”

Noise and wind

It’s so easy to move the CAM iV64Ex as you go. Looking at all the leak points and covering many leak points at the same time instead of going with the tube over each and every point you could have a leak. It sounded too good to be true, so I was doubting if the test was really worth my time.

I have to say I was very skeptical. I have some experience with acoustics, so I know how hard it is to detect such a low noise or level of energy. On the day of the test, there was a big storm going on. We had up to 20m/sec wind, so I was very skeptical that the acoustic camera could spot a leak under these conditions. I was sure that the wind would cause the microphones to malfunction.”

Successful test

“But it really worked! We found a very small leak. For the CAM iV64Ex to work under such conditions was a very good selling point. We double checked with the gas detector and because we knew where to look, the gas detector also found the leak. But I’m sure we could have easily missed it if we hadn’t known. There were a lot of potential leak points in that area, which also makes it harder for traditional solutions. But the acoustic camera did not have any problem picking up the ultrasonic sound of the gas leak. The Sorama equipment was so easy to use and so good that it picked it up immediately. It was unbelievable. I am still shocked that it worked that well!”

Ready to implement

“The test was so convincing that we are now waiting for the delivery of our order. We are very eager to start working with the CAM iV64Ex and are ready to implement it into all our routines. We will be using the handheld for the manual checks and a fixed solution for the critical areas. We will also still be using the traditional solutions, but they will be replaced once the acoustic camera has proven itself.”

Hydrogen leak detection solution with acoustic imaging

“This will absolutely change the way detection is done in our industry.”

Revolutionary solution

“The acoustic camera really can help detect any sort of leaks. Not just hydrogen, but all sorts of leaks. We have different gases here at the plant. Frequently going over the complete system with a traditional method takes a lot of time.  The CAM iV64Ex will save so much time.

And I think it will be much more accurate. If we can solely rely on acoustic cameras, it will absolutely change the way detection is done in our industry.”

Just one challenge

“The only big challenge we have is that this type of detection might not yet be accepted if we need to do some sort of verification or third-party assessment. Anything that is regulated, as this solution is so different than what our industry is used to. It’s not an industry standard yet, so that might be a potential challenge until the solution has proven itself.”

Give it a try

“We’ve had other vendors presenting different solutions and these solutions did not always do what they told us they could do. I thought Sorama’s acoustic camera was potentially one of them. If there is a possibility an acoustic camera can help you keep your people and your assets safe, then I really urge you to test it. It may sound too good to be true but give it a try and you will be as amazed as I was.”

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Our product used in this use case

Sorama Cam iV64Ex Acoustic camera for gas leak detection

CAM iV64Ex Acoustic Camera
(certification pending)

The Sorama CAM iV64 Acoustic camera is perfect for in-field measurements. The handheld device is equipped with 64 MEMS microphones and an integrated HD video camera to provide a clear heatmap-like visualization of the detected sound.

Do you want to learn more?

Our team is happy to discuss your situation and explain the benefits for your solution. Get in touch with us or schedule an (online) live demo.

Sorama Sales team