Cameras and drones team up for oil refinery pipe inspection

Drones, high-definition cameras and intelligent software are easing the task of inspecting oil refinery plants.

Oil refineries use hydrogen to lower the sulfur content of diesel fuel. According to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA; Washington, DC, United States;, refinery demand for hydrogen has increased as demand for diesel fuel has risen both domestically and internationally and as sulfur-content regulations have become more stringent. Much of the hydrogen used at refineries is produced on-site.

To do so, a process such as steam-methane reforming is used in which methane is mixed with steam at high temperatures in catalyst-filled pipes resulting in a mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and a small amount of carbon dioxide. At the end of this process, purification to obtain hydrogen is accomplished by removing the carbon monoxide with a pressure swing adsorption (PSA)system.

Complex and dangerous

“Oil refineries are

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