At a recent event held by the Colorado Cleantech Industries Association, new tech-minded firms previewed some of the exciting new devices and techniques that will be used to clean, monitor, and assess the oil and natural gas fields of the future. In an industry in which companies have begun investigating ways to control methane gas emissions, reduce carbon footprints, and eliminate adverse environmental impacts, these technologies will be crucial. One Colorado company, FLIR Systems Inc., has already developed a thermal imaging leak detector to help companies manage methane control systems, but the next wave of technology promises to be even more revolutionary.
One company, Alert Plus, hopes to create gas monitors that communicate electronically and provide ways to automatically shut down the system in case of an emergency. Others are focused on bringing solar energy to the oil and gas industry. Solar Multiple, for example, has begun using solar power to create the thermal energy needed to evaporate the water found in drilling pits. Perhaps most exciting is the plan to bring drones to oil fields, an idea pioneered by Agribotix, a company founded originally to use drones in the agriculture industry. With drones bedecked in sensors and cameras, oil and gas experts can quickly and easily check oil pipeline safety and the conditions in faraway fields, allowing for greater control and safety at a lower cost.