Using drones to improve the energy efficiency of heating networks
Monitoring heating networks to repair deterioration
Heating-network pipes do not last forever! Inspecting their condition helps improve the energy efficiency of installations and, in turn, users’ comfort. In Vénissieux, close to Lyon in France, a drone-mounted thermographic camera is being used for the first time in February 2016 to explore a section of the network.
The solution : more precise pipe inspections
The most common way to inspect hot-water pipes is aerial thermography from helicopters or airplanes, a method that is complicated and costly to implement. Now that miniature cameras and batteries are available, a thermographic camera can be mounted on a drone
How it works ?
Thermography is a technique used to capture thermal images of a scene. A camera that can detect infrared (a spectrum of frequencies lower than visible light) records the heat emanating from the subjects filmed. A colour filter is added to facilitate interpretation of the monochromatic images. By filming a network of underground hot-water pipes, we can see leaks caused by cracks or inadequate insulation.
Drone thermography is more precise, less expensive and uses less fossil fuel, because the drones are electric. Environmental benefits : Technology that pollutes less than helicopters, makes less noise and is much more precise, Improved network energy efficiency and a resulting decrease in energy use. Economic benefits : drone inspection campaigns are appreciably less expensive than when using a helicopter, improved network maintenance generates savings on energy bills.
The experiment was a success. The drone provides high-quality images at a much lower cost than aerial thermography by plane or helicopter. We have gathered relevant data that we are going to model using our eCare system.
NICOLAS LE RU
NETWORK EXPERTISE CENTRE MANAGER AT DALKIA CENTRE-EST