Quasar 2 – a new generation of infrared pilot flame monitors from LumaSense
LumaSense Technologies, a provider of temperature and gas sensing devices, has introduced its next-generation E2T Quasar 2 Continuous Flare Stack Monitoring System for pilot flames and flared gases. The scalability of the new flare monitoring systems and their ability to integrate multiple monitoring technologies through software allow for a flare monitoring solution for all the market, including: elevated flares (either steam-air or gas-assisted), ground flares (burn pit-flares, ground flare arrays), off-shore flares and staged flares.
Meeting site requirements
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires continuous monitoring of a flare stack to ensure that a pilot flame or flare flame is present. If the flame is extinguished, this can result in hazardous gases being released into the environment. Flare stack operations require pilot monitoring to ensure there is a pilot flame presence 100% of the time for safe operation, environmental assurance and governmental compliance.
The pilot light is the small natural gas flame that is an ignition source for the flare stack when waste gases are present. Without pilot flames, the waste gases may not ignite. Most pilot flames are monitored by a thermocouple, a sensor mounted near the flame. However, these thermocouples are exposed to thermal shock, making failures common. Thermocouple replacements are costly because the flare stack, and therefore a large part of production, must be shut down while the thermocouples are being replaced.
Secondary monitoring methods are often installed in new applications, or as aftermarket installations, to address a failing thermocouple issue. Alternative flare monitoring technologies can be provided by infrared pyrometers and imaging pilot monitoring systems. These can range from basic solutions that provide the pilot status, to more advanced solutions that detect the different flame sizes and can differentiate between pilot flames, flaring flames and multiple flare tips in close proximity.
For example, pyrometry could be used in single flare tip applications to detect if the pilot flame is on or off. Likewise, pyrometry or thermal imaging can be used to provide stage level indication in staged flare applications or for monitoring gas-assist flaring applications to maintain accurate flaring levels.
When monitoring multiple flare tips that are in close proximity, advanced solutions can be used that integrate both pyrometer systems and thermal imaging systems to differentiate between each flare and pilot flame for more accurate flare monitoring.
Site requirements also demand that flare monitoring technologies be sensitive to small flames at large distances, and that they are enclosed in a compatible housing for harsh environmental conditions and hazardous areas. To achieve this, a range of infrared technologies are available in the market.
Infrared monitors are non-contact devices that monitor infrared energy in order to detect the presence of a pilot flame. By monitoring infrared energy, they are sensitive enough to be mounted far away from the flare stacks and can be installed without the need to interrupt the flaring process.
This means that infrared sensors are more accessible for maintenance, as they are designed to be mounted at ground level. The development of specialised enclosures, electronics and optics specific to a flare monitoring application allows for pilot monitoring from greater distances than previously possible, while achieving the highest performance and capabilities available to the flare market.
LumaSense Technologies has 25 years of experience in offering its Quasar Flare Stack monitoring pyrometer solution and has made a large investment into the development of customised flare monitoring solutions. This includes the upgrade of the current Quasar pyrometer system with the release of the new Quasar 2 system. Two models are available: Quasar 2 M8100-EXP and Quasar 2 M8100-EXP Advanced.
The base system provides low-cost basic flare pilot monitoring capabilities. The advanced model has an intensity milliampere output that allow for a set point mA level to be set in a client’s distributed control system (DCS) for both the pilot and flaring status signal levels from a single unit.
Additional add-on features are also available for configuring the Quasar 2 system to meet a wide range of client flare types, monitoring requirements and budgets.
Cost-effective, high performance
The Quasar 2 offers a new stainless-steel enclosure for reduced corrosion and increased suitability for marine applications. Scalable options are available with the advanced version, including continuous 4-20 mA, peak hold and decay, and power supply with 24V DC, and 85 to 265V AC input.
High-resolution optics and the selection of various spot sizes enable the Quasar 2 to be positioned as far as 400 metres from the flare stack being monitored and ensure accurate flame signal detection. Alignment on the target is accomplished through the targeting port and the signal intensity LED bar displays amplitude in combination with a stable M-4 Heavy Duty Swivel Mount.
Custom electronics adapt to target movement, varying luminosity and most climate conditions. The alarm delay circuit can be adjusted for a specific location or application, eliminating false alarms from temporary loss of signal owing to intermittent flames, adverse weather and wind. The set point feature of the advanced unit can also be used for staged flares and will provide feedback on the defined flare intensity signals.
With installations at over 550 petrochemical facilities worldwide, customers know they can trust the LumaSense E2T line of petrochemical infrared sensors.