Tracer Analyzer – Mobile Tracer Detection System

The Wasson-ECE Tracer Analyzer is the industry standard in turn-key mobile tracer detection systems. Perflourinated tracers (PFTs) are inert compounds used for leak location and flow path tracing in underground high voltage cables, interstate natural gas pipelines and hazardous waste containers. The Tracer Analyzer has been designed for increased sensitivity over a standard gas chromatographic (GC) analysis, with the ability to detect ambient background concentrations of PFTs at femtoliter/liter (fL/L) concentrations.

The system is tracer specific and configurable to most perfluorinated tracer compounds available, including perfluorodimethylcyclobutane (PDCB), perfluoromethylcyclohexane (PMCH), and perfluorodimethylcyclohexane (PDMCH).

Leak Location in High Voltage Fluid FIlled Cables

The Tracer Analyzer has been used internationally for leak location in high voltage fluid filled (HVFF) cables for over a decade. While fluid filled cables are being replaced by cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) cables for new underground installations, there are still many miles of fluid filled cables that must be maintained. Historically, a freeze and pressure technique has been used for leak location which involves de-energizing and excavating the cable. The cable is frozen, and the leak is then pinpointed on one side or the other. This process is repeated until the location is found and the cable can be repaired.

In contrast, the tracer technique drastically reduces the time and impact involved in leak location. This method involves tagging the dielectric fluid with a low concentration of PFT. As PFTs are very volatile, they will readily diffuse above ground when a leak occurs. Upon diffusion they are easily detected by the Tracer Analyzer.

Tracer Analyzer Software Provides Visual Confirmation of Leak Location

The Tracer Analyzer’s mobile design allows for continuous sampling over miles of cable route with a dual trapping system that provides results every 100 seconds. The Tracer Analyzer software uses the ambient PFT concentration as a baseline and compares each sample result to this baseline to determine if it indicates a leak. The “leak” or “no leak” tag is then added to a map with the GPS waypoint for a visual representation of results. When an area is pinpointed, barhole samples are taken to further home in on the leak site. These barhole samples are usually too high in concentration to pass through the sorbent trap, so these samples are directly injected into the GC for analysis.

For HVFF cables, the visual confirmation and fast analysis, allow the user to pinpoint a leak location quickly, sometimes in a matter of hours. This fast turnaround reduces the cost and time involved in locating leaks and minimizes the environmental impact.

Product Specifications
  • Mobile design
  • Sensitivity as low as fL/L for PFTs
  • Dual trapping system
  • GPS mapping software
  • Vacuum pump
  • Analysis methods for tagged oil, bar hole bag samples, and ambient air
  • Customized to specific tracer components