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Santa Clara Firm Provides Cutting-Edge Gas Leak Detection System

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A Chevrolet Volt equipped with a gas leak detection system made by Santa Clara-based Picarro. (CBS)

A Chevrolet Volt equipped with a gas leak detection system made by Santa Clara-based Picarro. (CBS)

MikeColgan20100909_KCBS_0410r Mike Colgan
Mike Colgan, who has worked in Bay Area radio for more than 40 year...
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SANTA CLARA (KCBS) — A Santa Clara company has unveiled what they call a revolutionary solution towards detecting natural gas pipeline leaks.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is now using Picarro’s cutting-edge system – a super sensitive gas-leak detector that’s been installed in the trunk of a Chevy Volt.

“You can just drive down the street and you can be going at normal speeds. It can detect methane in the air and also calculate and estimate exactly where the leaks are coming from,” said PG&E spokesman Nick Stavropoulos.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

Picarro’s CEO Michael Woelk said the device can measure a single change in one-part per billion of methane in the atmosphere.

“That’s like being able to measure the increase or decrease the entire world’s population by six people every single second, not guessing, but getting it precisely right,” Woelk said.

Woelk added that his technology is also being used by scientists to measure changes in greenhouse gas composition.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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