Cascade Technologies: the background…

From the Insider Newsletter files: this is a background commentary article on the Emerson acquisition of Cascade Technologies, written back in December 2014. This article was published in the INSIDER Newsletter (www.iainsider.com) in January 2015.

TXT 3 Cascade logo

Cascade Technologies is a leading Scottish manufacturer of gas analysers and monitoring systems using their own Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) technology, which can measure multiple gas compositions simultaneously. Their products help improve industrial emissions monitoring, production efficiencies and environmental compliance in various industries – such as petrochemical, food and beverage, marine, automotive and pharmaceutical.

The acquisition will expand the Emerson analytical monitoring capabilities by adding this innovative laser technology to its Rosemount Analytical gas analysis portfolio.  Tom Moser, group vice president of the Emerson Process Management measurement and analytical businesses, said “The acquisition of Cascade Technologies is an exciting step as we further strengthen our gas analysis portfolio. Customers depend upon Emerson to solve their toughest analytical measurement problems. We are now better positioned to serve that need.” Emerson considers that QCL technology has introduced a step change in gas analyser performance through its increased sensitivity, speed of response, and fingerprinting capability.

Dr. Iain Howieson, chief executive officer of Cascade Technologies, added: “Joining a global leader like Emerson represents an incredible opportunity for business growth. The Emerson global presence and market leadership will have an immediate impact on the adoption of our cutting edge QCL gas analysers and monitoring systems.”

The growth of Cascade Technology

Cascade Technologies is now based in Stirling in Scotland, and was established in Glasgow in 2003, based on their novel technology. They appear to employ over 40 people, and have over 500 analysers in the field. Initially the product was targeted at marine emission monitoring analysis for the monitoring and control of flue gases and emissions, to meet MARPOL and EPA regulations: by 2009 their product was established in this application and sales supply agreements were signed with both a partner covering the marine emissions monitoring market, and another covering flue gas setting analysers for domestic boiler production. The next year saw the start of sales of their aerosol leak detection system, and an exclusive supply agreement with a supplier of automotive test equipment. The CT3000 multi-component gas analyser for automotive emissions testing achieved sales of 200 units within 24 months

TXT 3 CT2100 on-stack gas analyser

Cascade CT2100 on-stack gas analyser

The last three years have seen rapid acceptance of the QCL technology in the pharmaceutical leak detection market, and the process industry, with the first process analytics QCL analyser at an ethylene production plant in the UK. This has also been used for natural gas moisture measurement applications. The analyser is also used for Continuous Emissions Monitoring Systems (CEMS) for industrial gaseous effluent emissions: for example they consider that typically there would be 15 CEMS on each refinery in the USA. The whole installation of a single CEMS would cost $200k-400k, and 30% of this historically has been for the analyser.

Cascade appear to have several boom areas for the application of their technologies.

Cascade QCL technology

The Cascade technology is based on a principle called Tunable Diode Laser Absorption Spectroscopy (TDLAS), which can measure the concentration of gas species in gaseous mixtures, using light from tunable diode lasers and laser spectrometry to make measurements of the absorption at various wavelengths. In comparison to other analytical techniques such as paramagnetic detectors (PMD) and chemi-luminescence, TDLAS offers multi-element capabilities, high accuracy with a wide dynamic range, low maintenance, and a long life cycle. Lasers offer high resolution spectroscopy: QCL techniques offer use of the valuable mid infrared (MIR) part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

The advantage of QCL is that it avoids any need for cryogenic cooling and gas lasers. QCL uses semiconductor materials having a series of quantum wells, so that higher power emission can be produced. In addition the lasing wavelength is not determined by the material itself, but by the physical thickness of the semiconductor layers. The patented Cascade Laser CHIRP technique enables the detector to work in the MHz region, with high speed room temperature detectors.

The result is a solid state compact design, giving reliability and easy integration: the technique competes strongly with gas chromatography, ion mobility spectrometry, and mass sensitive detector techniques. The Cascade development of multi-component TDLAS analyser platforms (capable of measuring up to 20 different gases in one instrument), allows a single multi-component analyser to replace multiple analysers in the field (for example those previously based on NDIR, chemi-luminescence). The QCL technology provides significant advantages in production throughput, accuracy and cost.

Hybrid Laser Continuous Gas Analyser

Emerson has announced the release of the Rosemount CT5100 continuous gas analyser, the world’s only hybrid analyser to combine Tunable Diode Laser (TDL) and Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) measurement technologies for process gas analysis and emissions monitoring. The CT5100 is the latest offering in the Emerson CT5000 series, providing the most comprehensive analysis available as it can detect down to sub ppm level for a range of components, while simplifying operation and significantly reducing costs. Unlike traditional continuous gas analysers, the CT5100 can measure up to 12 critical component gases and potential pollutants simultaneously within a single system – meeting local, national, and international regulatory requirements.

The CT5100 was first shown at the Emerson European Exchange in Brussels, last month, and is one of several new developments to be launched this year, following the acquisition of the company Cascade Technologies, of Stirling in Scotland in December 2014.

QCL-Image-CT5100-Ex-160420

The CT5100 operates reliably with no consumables, no in-field enclosure, and a simplified sampling system that does not require any gas conditioning to remove moisture. The new gas analyser is ideally suited for process gas analysis, continuous emissions monitoring, and ammonia slip applications.

“The increase in regulatory requirements worldwide, along with the decrease in experienced personnel in industrial plants, have paved the way for the emergence of a new generation of faster, more accurate, and easier-to-use measurement technologies,” said Ruth Lindley, product manager for QCL analysers at Emerson. “The CT5100 represents an important next step in that direction, providing unmatched sub-second response time for precise, reliable measurement of complex gases and emissions to ensure regulatory compliance and prevent costly fines or unexpected shutdowns.”

The CT5100 is a unique combination of advanced technology, high reliability, and rugged design. Its ‘laser chirp’ technique expands gas analysis in both the near- and mid-infrared range, enhancing process insight, improving overall gas analysis sensitivity and selectivity, removing cross interference, and reducing response time. The laser chirp technique produces sharp, well-defined peaks from high resolution spectroscopy that enable specificity of identified components with minimum interference and without filtration, reference cells, or chemometric manipulations.

“The CT5100 modular design and patented ability to chirp up to six lasers in one enclosure provides greatly expanded measurement capability as well as superior analyser availability and lower maintenance costs,” said Dave McMillen, North America business development manager. “Start-up and commissioning is quick and maintaining the analyser requires minimal technician time and material cost.”

For more information on the CT5100 analyser, go to www.EmersonProcess.com/GasAnalysis/QCL. Surprisingly, the CT5100 replaces the older CT5200 model, which is now made obsolete.

@ProcessingTalk

(c) ProcessingTalk.info

US climate change contribution

….65 tonnes per hour of methane, discharging to atmosphere for 6 months!

The Climate Change conference in Paris, in December, was bracketed by yet more “once in 200 year” floods in Northwest England, and followed, or maybe even preceded, by the UK Government announcing the cancellation of CCS research support, and all subsidies to solar power. OK they are now rethinking solar power subsidy.

But the USA was already digging itself deeper into the mire by having a major methane gas leak in California. Already, the methane gas leak from underground storage tanks had been venting to atmosphere for two months when they sat down at the table. The problem is, current plans to stop the leak will take three further months, if it works. Why can’t the US machine do it faster?

So at 65 metric tonnes per hour of gas discharge of methane, this is 1560 T per day; 46,800 T per month; and 234 thousand tonnes over the five months of the leak, all things being well.

Now methane is 70 times more damaging to the atmosphere than CO2, so that means the leak will be equivalent to 16 million, 380 thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide, released into the atmosphere because of a leak that was not ‘controllable by the US industry involved’, from natural gas storage, presumably it was storing their fracked gas. We don’t get told the equivalent of this air pollution in terms of vehicle emissions or power station homes supplied with power: maybe we should measure it in terms of numbers of houses flooded, and cyclone casualties instead?

Actually, it can be measured against one of the biggest coal fired stations in the UK, Longannet in Scotland. Longannet power station is closing because it consumes 1000 Tonnes of coal per hour, say that is 4000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per hour. It does not have any CCS capture technology, so it is closing because it is a major source of European pollution.
The gas leak in California is 65T per hour methane, equivalent to 4550 Tonnes per hour of CO2 equivalent.
So this one gas leak is more polluting than one of the UK power stations that is now paying fines for its pollution emissions!
Are the US owners of this methane storage facility paying any fines for their climate damage? Does anyone in the USA care about this enough to put a major effort in to close the leak in less than another three months, maybe, if everything works like they hope?

See http://www.hazardexonthenet.net/article/107539/Massive-gas-leak-from-California-underground-storage-reservoir-causes-1-800-families-to-relocate.aspx?

January 2016 Update:

The leak rate has slowed considerably over the past months, and the Californian Air Resources Board reckon the total discharge to date has been about 83,000 tonnes of methane. They consider the well storage is being exhausted. This equates to 2.1 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. SoCalGas suggest the leak capping process will be completed in the month of March.

February 2016 Update:

On Feb 11th SoCalGas announced that they had completed the drilling down to intercept the base of the leaking well, and they had succeeded in plugging the flow with heavy mud followed up by cement. So the leak had been stopped – but it was probably stopped anyway, all the gas having been exhausted. 11,300 residents can now return to their homes.

More important is that attention has now been focussed on the problem of these leaky old wells used for gas storage, and the Los Angeles Daily News has the bit between its teeth and is turning investigative reporters onto similar stories. Main focus is on the Hattiesburg Gas Storage site in Mississippi and Lake Gas Storage site in Texas.

 

Emerson acquires Spectrex

Emerson Process Management has announced the acquisition of Spectrex Inc, a leading US-based manufacturer of flame and open path gas detectors. With this addition, Emerson will have the most comprehensive line of flame, gas and ultrasonic leak detector solutions used for safety monitoring in the industry.

Spectrex will join the Rosemount portfolio of measurement and analytical technologies, joining the capabilities already available with the gas leak detection systems acquired in Groveley Detection (nickdenbow.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/1345/) in June 2013.

For nearly 34 years, Spectrex has been the leader in flame and open path gas detection. It developed the world’s first ultraviolet-infrared (UV/IR) and triple infrared (IR3) flame detectors and was first to introduce xenon flash lamps in open path detector design, increasing detectors’ resilience to atmospheric conditions while reducing power consumption. These innovative advancements in safety monitoring provide a powerful solution for customers in the oil and gas, petrochemical, chemical and power industries.

“We are very excited about adding the Spectrex product line to our flame and gas detection portfolio,” said Tom Moser, group vice president of Emerson Process Management’s measurement and analytical technologies. “Emerson is committed to helping our customers protect their employees, facilities, and the environment, and we are now better positioned to serve that need.”

Spectrex and its staff are located in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, with sales and technical support offices in Houston, the United Kingdom and Taiwan.

Editor’s note: I tried to launch the UK sales of the first UV/IR detection system ever developed (so I was told at the time) which was made by Armtec in New Hampshire. That was in about 1983. Maybe Spectrex bought up Armtec? All inputs will be welcomed!

GasSecure sold to Dräger

The Norwegian venture‐backed company GasSecure AS has been sold to Dräger Holding International GmbH for approximately 500 mNOK ($61m). The company will strengthen Dräger’s portfolio within gas detection, with the newly developed wireless gas detector for the oil and gas industry. The sale is the proof of GasSecure’s success both in the market and as a venture backed investment.

Stefan Dräger, Executive Board Chairman of Dräger, and Knut Sandven, CEO of GasSecure

Stefan Dräger, Executive Board Chairman of Dräger,
and Knut Sandven, CEO of GasSecure

GasSecure was founded by Knut Sandven and SINTEF in 2008, based on core technology from SINTEF, with R&D Director Håkon Sagberg joining the company in 2009, and has been financially supported by Viking Venture, Investinor, ProVenture Seed and SINTEF since 2010.

Chairman of the Board, Eivind Bergsmyr from lead investor Viking Venture commented: ‐ “Dräger is in our opinion the ideal buyer for GasSecure. They have the capability and distribution power to scale the unique and promising products of GasSecure with their worldwide distribution network. Dräger understands how to develop an innovative company further and has been willing to offer a competitive price acknowledging the outstanding achievements”.

Continues as a separate company

Dräger will continue to keep GasSecure with its 11 employees as a separate company under the leadership of founder and CEO, Knut Sandven: “We are truly impressed by Mr Sandven and his team and what they have achieved so far, and want to make sure we integrate this capability into the Dräger organization in a tailored and effective way”, says Dräger Executive Vice President M&A, Brigitte Dautzenberg. GasSecure’s products and technology are successfully field proven in the harshest offshore environments and climates from Alaska, the North Sea and Australia being bought by major global operators. The GasSecure product offering provides extended detection coverage, exceptional safety and cost performance to operators. This has become even more important with the current cost focus in the oil sector.

Natural next step

GasSecure CEO Knut Sandven commented on the change in ownership as a natural step in expanding the GasSecure influence and success further:‐ “Growing a startup from first concept to a successful company with global reach means going through different phases. The venture companies were perfect owners in the startup phase with their continuous support, commitment and experience. Now it is all about distribution, support and scaling where a prime industrial brand such as Dräger is the best partner we could ever imagine. This is a huge recognition of our innovative technology, the GasSecure team, and our vision for new, revolutionary products”.

GasSecure has been regularly featured in the INSIDER Newsletter, since the first mention of their novel wireless hydrocarbon gas detector at an Invensys OpsManage meeting back in 2011. Last mention was in July 2014, when a deal was announced with Yokogawa for joint marketing of ISA100 wireless systems using the GasSecure gas detectors.

Emerson acquires Cascade Technologies

The acquisition is intended to expand Emerson’s gas analysis portfolio, adding laser-based measurement analysers and systems for enhanced industrial emissions monitoring, production efficiencies and regulatory compliance.

Emerson has announced that it has acquired Cascade Technologies Ltd, based in Stirling in Scotland, UK, a leading manufacturer of gas analysers and monitoring systems using their Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) technology. This innovative technology measures multiple gases simultaneously, helping companies improve industrial emissions monitoring, production efficiencies and environmental compliance.

Emerson is expanding its analytical measurement capabilities by adding this innovative laser technology to its Rosemount Analytical gas analysis portfolio.  QCL technology provides a step change in gas analyser performance through its increased sensitivity, speed of response, and fingerprinting capability. These technology advances in the gas analysis market space provide a powerful solution for customers in various industries such as petrochemical, food and beverage, marine, automotive and pharmaceutical. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

“The acquisition of Cascade Technologies is an exciting step as we further strengthen our gas analysis portfolio,” said Tom Moser, group vice president of Emerson Process Management’s measurement and analytical businesses. “Our customers depend upon Emerson to solve their toughest analytical measurement problems. We are now better positioned to serve that need.”

Dr. Iain Howieson, chief executive officer of Cascade Technologies, added: “Joining a global leader like Emerson represents an incredible opportunity for business growth. The Emerson global presence and market leadership will have an immediate impact on the adoption of cutting edge QCL gas analysers and monitoring systems.”

Yokogawa recovery is now completed

The recent Yokogawa User Conference in Berlin was reported in the INSIDER Newsletter July 2014 issue, showing a major emphasis on wireless systems, and the addition of new wireless sensors, for example for flammable gas alarm applications. The Berlin conference was the first significant Yokogawa European event since the Nice User Group meeting in November 2012, and so gave a good opportunity to talk to the management and assess how the business has reorganized and progressed over the few years. The overall impression is that Yokogawa is back to full health, so the major players need to move over.

The problems of the last five years.

The group has had a hard time over the last five years, following the world-wide recession and then their poor financial results in 2009. Then Japanese factors affected the Group badly, with the rise of the Japanese Yen reducing the competitive position – because of local production and group HQ costs – and the country then faced the impact and aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. Some of the Test and Measurement Division businesses were sold off, realizing some capital, and the company structure has been rearranged: jobs and resources were re-allocated. Wound around this, the wireless standards ‘war’ between ISA100 and WirelessHART, where Yokogawa for a long time took the brunt of the problems, and presumably had to help in the process of finalizing the ISA100 standard into a workable form: at least this is now completed, and consequently Yokogawa is the leader in the ISA100 field.

Recovery factors

Perhaps the major market factor that aided the Yokogawa recovery was the growth of the LNG liquefaction and shipping activity around the world, since is this an area where they have significant expertise and have a large market share compared to the other majors. Currently there are continuing LNG projects, the Japanese Yen has returned to the historic level of ¥100=$1, and over some years the production facilities have been diversified, reducing the concentration in Japan.

The flow company, Rota, has always been headquartered in Europe: now the special custom assemblies of complete analyzer houses are also built in Europe and the USA, plus the latest LNG project on the Yamal peninsula in Russia will be engineered from Europe. In a discussion at their Berlin conference, Yokogawa president and COO Nishijima san reminded me that they already had two established manufacturing joint venture companies in China, manufacturing transmitters and flowmeters, and the DCS systems plus other measuring instruments are built in Indonesia, with general pcboard manufacturing in Singapore. Nishijima san also commented on the need for local manufacture in the USA to provide the fast lead times required in that market, so we might see investment in a new production assembly venture there.

The next steps – with wireless

The Berlin conference showed that Yokogawa is building on their ISA100 position, and is seeking other add-on wireless sensor technologies to increase their ‘in-house’ capability. This might be by using their add-on wireless adaptor/interface, to existing mains powered sensors. It looks like a good relationship has developed with GE Bently Nevada, and corrosion and intrusion detection sensors might be next, with maybe fire detection sensors to go alongside the GasSecure flammable gas detectors on offshore platforms. Dräger, the specialists in oil and gas safety technology, were one of the major sponsoring partners of the Berlin conference, and also presented a talk discussing fire detection, using visual flame detection systems.

Nishijima was appointed President in February 2013: in April 2013 Herman van den Berg was appointed European President, and in December 2013 Simon Rogers was recruited as the head of the UK operation. Van den Berg, probably in common with Chet Mroz and others in the USA, has been burning up the air miles to Japan over the past 18 months, as a part of planning the recovery of the business. In fact there was an acquisition in March 2013 of Soteica Visual Mesa, marking an entry for Yokogawa into energy management IT services. Nishijima san sees further alliances and even acquisitions as an important route for Yokogawa to consider, to achieve the future growth his shareholders expect to see, and the current improvement in debt/equity ratio and normalization of the company share status makes this much more possible.

DCS and software developments

The major existing DCS developments have involved cyber-security improvements, probably in conjunction with McAfee after the February 2013 announcement, and ISAsecure certification for ProSafe RS. Additions to expect in this area are augmented reality added onto the displays, and compatibility with virtual servers. Yokogawa sees major business expansion potential in providing IT techniques and services for their IA customers, as a continuing service activity.

Examples quoted were CMMS in the cloud, which is already being offered as a service in Japan, and a software service called iMaintain, jointly developed and installed with Akzo Nobel in Germany: plus there is also their RigRider drilling procedure software, as reported from the Offshore Europe Expo in the newsletter last September. iMaintain enables client engineers to access device live data and history via a tablet on site, after reading the device ID locally using OCR. The iMaintain server accesses the DCS via an OPC link, to get current data, but can also call up device notes previously recorded, and also the instruction manual. A similar service offering is the Sotieca VisualMesa energy management system, which can suggest fuel and operational changes that will run plants such as refineries at minimal cost. One example of this is a recent project for the BP Lingen refinery in Germany: the system is in use in around 70 sites in refineries and petrochemical plants in the EU and North America.

The R+D activity on instrumentation also continues….

In the area of field instrumentation, continuing development will be seen following their strategy of having a two tier offering, featuring a top of the range unit backed up with a lower cost unit aimed at lower specification requirements. This has been seen with the EJX and EJA-E pressure transmitter, and the Admag AXF flowmeter, with the RXF unit typically for water industry applications. A new version of the TDLS combustion gas analyzer will also be launched soon. The activity level in this area of R+D is significant, with typically 400 to 500 new patents generated in a year.

Nick Denbow

The INSIDER Newsletter covering industrial automation and control is a Spitzer and Boyes publication, see http://www.iainsider.co.uk