Turin, 11 April 2019 –  Italgas, leading gas distributor in Italy and third in Europe, and Picarro, the leading provider of intelligent asset management software solutions, have signed a memorandum of understanding to use in Europe the Picarro Surveyor, currently the most advanced in the field of gas network monitoring activities.

The system, named CRDS (Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy), consists of a sophisticated sensing technology that, compared to traditional technologies, offers important advantages in terms of speed and width of the areas subject to control. The advantages are made possible by the development of specific vehicular devices that, combined with sophisticated software, ensure a sensitivity of detection of the presence of gas in the air of three orders of magnitude higher than those currently in use by operators in the sector (parts per billion against parts per million).

Compared to the traditional method, the new technology does not require the vehicle to follow the route of the underground pipeline, thus obviating the problem of possible obstacles along the way (such as parked cars) and exponentially expands the volume of the monitored above-ground area (150-200 meters wide and 5-8 meters high compared to 1-2 meters and 10-20 centimeters).

The software is also able to detect not only the presence of methane but also of ethane, thus giving a more accurate data about the amount of gas molecules in the air. This data together with information on the direction and speed of the wind and with geo-referenced measurements, makes it possible to provide extremely rapid and precise localization of the possible origin of the dispersion.

The agreement follows an intense phase of experimentation successfully conducted over the last year on the networks of the three largest cities served by Italgas, Turin, Rome and Naples. In these cities, the new technology has made it possible to control a total of 150% more kilometres of network than the minimum standards set by the regulatory authority, about 38,000 kilometres of network compared to the 15,000 required.

Innovation is one of the drivers on which Italgas' development strategy is based – said Ceo Paolo Gallo – It is through technological innovation that our ability to consolidate our leadership in Italy and Europe passes, confirming our leadership in the sector. For this reason, we are pleased to take our collaboration with Picarro to a higher level, which has already produced excellent results during the testing phase, carving out an exclusive role for us in the use of such cutting-edge technology not only for Italy, but for the whole of Europe. Picarro's recognition is a recognition that makes us proud and rewards our ability to work daily for an increasingly efficient and effective service".

Italgas’ adoption of the Picarro Surveyor – said Picarro CEO, Alex Balkanski – is an important milestone for European Gas distribution. We look forward to jointly deploying data-driven solutions to benefit Gas Operators throughout Europe”.

Picarro is changing the way Gas Operators run their business enabling their digital transformation through cloud computing data-driven analytics.

Italgas is the leading gas distributor in Italy and third in Europe: it manages a distribution network that extends for a total of about 70,000 kilometers through which, over the past year, it has distributed about 9 billion cubic meters of gas to 7.56 million users. The Group, including its non-consolidated subsidiaries, holds 1,808 concessions, with a historical presence in the country's major cities, including Turin, Venice, Florence, Rome and Naples.

Italgas and the US Picarro sign a MoU

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