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Laser monitoring of methane emissions with Red Pitaya

LongPath Technologies is a greenhouse gas emissions monitoring service provider based in Boulder, Colorado, which uses patented, Nobel Prize-winning, long-range laser networks to provide the lowest cost detection and quantification of specific emission sources across large areas.

Their mission is to enable customers to reduce emissions easily and effectively through the use of advanced networked technology that provides actionable data. One of the critical products in transitioning their system from a proof-of-concept, laboratory instrument to a field-hardened industrial tool has been a Red Pitaya board.

Picture1Figure 1: A Red Pitaya board in the field-deployed cabinet

LongPath Technologies’ patented Dual Frequency Comb (DCS) system detects, locates, and quantifies emissions of specific gas sources across 20+ square mile regions with a single laser tower.


The system uses frequency comb lasers, which output hundreds of thousands of wavelengths of light, to measure atmospheric gases at an unprecedented spectral bandwidth (>100 nm), resolution (<2x10^(-3) nm) and signal-to-noise ratio, providing precise multi-species measurements.

LongPath places a single laser in a central area (Central Node Tower) and directs eye-safe light to small mirrors near the monitored equipment (Passive Mirrors), creating a laser beam fenceline around each monitored area. A single laser can measure many well pads, tank batteries or compressor stations, and the beams can be up to several miles long. In single-blind testing LongPath has demonstrated the ability to detect, locate, and size methane sources from individual facilities down to flow rates of less than 10 SCFH.

Using Nobel Prize-winning laser systems in a regional-scale solution, LongPath provides reliable, real-time data at the lowest cost to the customer.

Scaling this technology in a reliable manner is a very difficult challenge. Red Pitaya gives LongPath a robust and cost-effective platform for advanced data acquisition and signal processing algorithms that guarantee their customers the most accurate continuous monitoring solution available. The quick development cycle and environmental resilience of Red Pitaya's products has allowed LongPath to achieve a 10x scaling of deployed systems in the last year.

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