Synodon Inc. is a remote sensing company focusing on providing various datasets to energy companies in order to help them improve their energy efficiency, safety and regulatory compliance as well as reduce their environmental footprint.
Examples of datasets that are of interest to the energy industry include aerial imagery, thermal and terrain mapping, vegetation and ground type, etc. Together with some of this more general information, Synodon also provides highly sensitive gas measurements with its patent pending, flagship realSens™ (remote alkane Sensing) technology.
The realSens™ technology development was initiated by Synodon Inc as a result of the success of the MOPITT satellite instrument. This instrument project was managed and funded by the Canadian Space Agency and designed, built and operated by the University of Toronto in cooperation with the Canadian industry. MOPITT is part of the payload on-board the NASA’s Terra satellite (launched on December 19, 1999), the flagship of the Earth Observation System.
MOPITT is a radiometer that uses a remote sensing technique called Gas-Filter Correlation Radiometry (GFCR) to measure carbon monoxide (CO) and methane (CH4) in the lower atmosphere. Its main goal is to monitor pollution and its effects in the troposphere. It senses the up-welling infrared radiation from either the thermal emission/absorption at 4.7 m for CO profiles, or reflected sunlight at about 2.2 to 2.4 m for CO and CH4 column measurements in daylight.
Synodon Inc acquired the rights to expand the technology MOPITT validated in Space to commercial devices and services. The realSens&trade project is Synodon’s first undertaking in this respect and aims primarily at creating an industry standard for the remote sensing of hydrocarbon leaks and emissions. Instead of measuring methane however (as MOPITT does), realSens™ employs a similar GFCR technique to measure other hydrocarbon gases, in particular ethane (C2H6) but will be targeted in the future at other minor constituents of natural gas or petroleum products. This approach significantly decreases the likelihood of false measurements due to natural sources of methane.
Implementing a commercially viable service that meets the high sensitivity requirements of the energy industry has proven to be a challenging endeavour that required new scientific and technical solutions. This resulted in a new form of GFCR, named Simultaneous-View Correlation Radiometry (SVCR). A number of patents for this technique were filed and are under consideration by the US, Canadian and European patent offices.
Applications for the SVCR technology extend well beyond the core realSens™ project, as the technology could be applied to remote sensing of many gases or future airborne or satellite based remote sensing solutions. In parallel with bringing to market the hydrocarbon detection service, Synodon is actively pursuing these future applications.