I want to touch base on a topic that is becoming increasingly of interest to GE and the Energy industry as a whole. This has to do with the ability to improve the efficiency of some renewable energy generating technologies, as well as improve the efficiency and environmental footprint of oil & gas producing technologies. This hinges on having large amounts of data and detailed analysis of that data. However, the quality of analytics is only as good as the reliability and robustness of the data points being collected.
As oil and gas production moves to unconventional environments, it will require more rugged sensors that can handle the hotter, harsher environments they will surely encounter. Here at GE Global Research, we are developing such a sensing platform using an array of technologies and disciplines (from materials science to computer science) that is not only focused on ensuring the collection of reliable data about an oil/gas field, but also expanding the level of information that can be captured and analyzed. This sensing platform also will contribute to field and well operations that are even safer and more efficient. As an example, GE has developed a novel downhole sensor for measuring pressure at high temperature. This is based on a photonic micro-opto-mechanical systems (MOEMS) technology developed by GE’s Measurement & Control business. These sensors (see picture) were mounted on a 2 km long optical fiber and tested downhole in a geothermal well, showing very high accuracy. An offshoot of this technology is being developed to monitor CO2sequestration wells. However, these same sensors that are used in renewable energy production can also have an impact in helping to create more efficient, reliable, and optimized oil & gas technologies.
I hope you’ll join us in the year ahead as we discuss these emerging sensing systems technologies on the blog!