A large LNG gas facility (approximately 300m x 150m) producing 300 000 tons of LNG annually is situated in a terminal area with the nearest populated area at a distance of around 1 km. Within the gas production facility, a low frequency tonal noise at around 500 Hz is generated causing complaints from nearby neighbours. The tone imposes a more stringent noise requirement on the facility, forcing noise reducing actions being made on the source.
In addition to the tonal noise, the entire LNG gas facility is rich in noise emitting sources, including losing and loading of maritime vessels, which further complicates the source location of the single tonal noise source. Also the location of the facility at the coastal regions of the western part of Norway, ensures that windy conditions are frequent, with wind noise further impeding the quality of acoustic recordings.
Based on measurements with hand held sound level meters, the problem area was narrowed down to be a large pipe in the midst of the facility. However it could not be
determined if the emitted tonal noise was from the entire pipe itself, or if it originated at a specific part of the pipe. There was also uncertainty whether there existed multiple
sources within the pipe, for instance at both the base and top layer. In the worst case the noise insulation would have to be performed over the entire pipe length, which could have been a very expensive solution.
By positioning the center of the acoustic camera towards the pipe and adjusting the frequency to display only coloring within the 500 Hz 1/3-band, the noise source was located within seconds, and the source producing the tonal part from the pipe was detected. Measurements from different measurement positions also confirmed the source location.
By placing the virtual microphone on the localised source and using the spectrogram function, it was easy to verify the position of the source emitting a tone at 460 Hz.
Although the measurement location had quite windy conditions, the wind noise did not affect the measurement results at all. Wind noise can be viewed as spatially white, which means that wind noise sampled at different places in space, as is done with the Nor848A, is not correlated from position to position. When many different signals from many microphones are added in the beamforming algorithm, the wind noise will be added out of phase and attenuated proportional with the number of microphones being used.
With the acoustic camera it was possible to detect the tonal sound of the most crucial parts of the turbine. This meant that the facility could focus on and implement noise reduction actions in the right places.
After pin pointing the location of the noise source, further analysis could be made with measurements performed closer to the source of interest in order to further determine
the position and cause of the generated tonal noise.