Field demonstration of a microwave black powder detection device in gas transmission pipelines

Wesam Taha, Mohamed Abou-Khousa, Andri Haryono, Mohamed AlShehhi, Khaled Al-Wahedi, Ahmed Al-Durra, Ibrahim AlNabulsieh, Mustafa Daoud, Frank Geuzebroek, Mohammad Faraj, Mohammed Azhar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Black Powder (BP) poses a serious threat to the integrity and operation of natural gas transmission networks worldwide. While BP corrective and preventive remedies have been proposed in the past, real-time detection and quantification of BP in natural gas flows using a viable technology is yet to be addressed. Real-time monitoring of BP is imperative not only to ensure on-spec supply of sales gas, but also to facilitate maintenance decisions and assess the efficacy of in-line filters. In this paper, an industrial-grade BP detection device (BPDD) capable of measuring the total suspended solids (TSS) in real-time is demonstrated. The proposed device is based on measurements of microwave signals transmitted through a pipe section as solids traverse in the gas flow using a custom-made transceiver and in-situ probes. The BPDD is extensively tested on sales gas pipelines in field conditions, whereby high sensitivity is verified. Concentration measurements of the BPDD is benchmarked against a TSS analysis conducted as part of isokinetic sampling of the gas flow. The reported measurement error using the BPDD is less than 7%. Hence, the proposed device is deemed a valuable asset to flow assurance in the oil & gas industry.

Original languageBritish English
Article number103058
JournalJournal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Black powder
  • Flow assurance
  • Measurement
  • Microwave
  • Natural gas
  • Pipeline


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