Ameren implements new ‘gas sniffing’ vehicle that helps detect leaks


ST. LOUIS – New technology is rolling around the metro-east in search of gas leaks.

The Ameren mobile leak detection unit, aka the ‘gas sniffer,’ is a so-called game-changer. It’s a vehicle that drives through areas and detects dangerous gas leaks.

“We use technicians that walk along the ground with a survey device that finds leaks and this vehicle allows us to do it much quicker and more sensitive than previous technology,” Eric Kozak said.

Ameren Illinois said the technology is 1,000 more sensitive than the current technology. Testing on effectiveness is still ongoing but so far so good.

There are “several components integrated onto the hybrid vehicle,” Ben Dori said. “This unit in front pulls in particles from the atmosphere. Going back to the analyzer we have a sonic and monitor on the roof that’s detecting wind speed and direction.”

“We have a GPS unit on the roof, and that all comes back to the analyzer in the truck. The analyzer is using laser-based technology to sense methane in the samples in the atmosphere.”

Ameren has one of these gas sniffing vehicles now, but once they perfect the technology the plan is to purchase more.

“It’s going to allow us to find leaks quicker and spend more time fixing leaks than looking for them,”

The vehicle can be seen at night time when the technology works best. 

If you smell gas, pick up the phone and call 811. 

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