The National Fire Protection Association reported that in 2018 that an estimated average of 4,200 home structure fires per year started with the ignition of natural gas. These fires caused an average of 40 deaths per year. The statistics, incident descriptions from NFPA publications, and reports from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) show that most major gas incidents involved some type of leak.
“In the U.S., local fire departments respond to an average of 340 natural gas or LP-Gas leaks per day with no ignition,” the NFPA said in a report, adding, “Although gas leaks are much more common than gas ignitions, they can be precursors to devastating events.”
The report also showed that local fire departments responded to an average of 125,000 natural gas or LP-Gas leaks per year that did not result in fires in or at home properties between 2012-2016.
Leaks or breaks were the leading factors contributing to home structure fires that began with the ignition of natural gas.
Lorax Systems, a safety, and environmental solutions company, is building solutions aiming to reduce such incidents by improving the ability for utility companies to monitor and prevent potentially hazardous natural gas incidents.
Senet, a provider of cloud-based software and service platforms for global connectivity and on-demand network build-outs for the IoT, announced this week they have successfully completed a Shut-off Valve Integration with Senet’s LoRaWAN Network.
Through this technical collaboration, the companies have certified Lorax’s meter and service shut-off valves on Senet’s LoRaWAN network. The resulting integration provides utilities 24/7 monitoring with automatic and remote gas shut-off capabilities when hazardous conditions have been detected at any location using Senet’s Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) connectivity.
When a gas leak happens today, utility providers typically become aware of it after a customer reports it. By that point, a significant amount of leaked gas has already created a dangerous situation for anyone in the vicinity, not to mention utility employees who arrive to fix it. By adding state-of-the-art valve shut-off capabilities to sensing and alerting systems, this partnership ensures utilities gain complete awareness and control of their gas distribution systems, including automating the secure shutdown of single or multiple valves before a gas leak becomes a safety issue.
Using Senet’s LoRaWAN network to manage communications between the gas shut-off valves and the cloud maximizes network coverage and communication range while reducing operational costs.
“Our utility customers need a solution that provides situational awareness without requiring constant maintenance or exorbitant costs,” said Mark Bishoff, President, and CEO of Lorax Systems. “For many utilities that need to go beyond managing a small number of devices, it quickly becomes evident that a LoRaWAN network is more financially sound than other communications options, especially considering the need for sensor-enabled devices to last for ten years or more in the field. After researching IoT connectivity options, we found Senet’s carrier-grade LoRaWAN network provides the coverage and performance we need without compromising on our customers’ requirements.”
Lorax Systems offers meter and service valves that stop leaks when they happen. The Lorax Meter Valve is a cloud-enabled mechanical gas valve that provides automatic shut-off in the event of methane detection, over pressurization, fire, or flood using IoT connectivity to provide insights and remote operation. The Lorax Service Valve is an underground intelligent safety shutoff device that halts the flow of gas in the event of a breach in the service line, including the aforementioned events. With operation certified by Senet, utilities can easily use Lorax gas valves in combination with gas metering and other infrastructure monitoring solutions on the same network.
“Utilities are constantly evaluating new technologies to improve safety, operational efficiency, and customer service,” said Bruce Chatterley, CEO of Senet. “Recently, from a safety standpoint, several major disasters have happened because of gas line failures or breaks, not to mention commonplace leaks that harm the environment. Complementary technologies from Senet and Lorax represent a reliable and cost-effective solution to previously challenging problems. We’re excited to work with Lorax to demonstrate the impact of better IoT connectivity on improving safety, the environment, and the bottom line of utilities.”
Through a joint go-to-market strategy, Senet and Lorax are engaged in field trials with large multi-utility service providers centered around improving safety levels and reliability across regional natural gas distribution networks. By progressing its partnership with Lorax and previously announced collaborations with natural gas leak detection solutions and utility providers, Senet aims to continually support the digital transformation of the utility industry with IoT-powered innovation.
Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.
Edited by Maurice Nagle