The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $32 million in funding toward the research and development of new monitoring, measurement and mitigation technologies to help detect, quantify and reduce methane emissions across oil and natural gas producing regions in the US.
After carbon dioxide, methane is the most abundant greenhouse gas (GHG) warming the planet, and methane emissions contribute significantly to the GHG intensity of natural gas.
The US has more than 2 million active, abandoned or repurposed wells, as well as its oil and natural gas pipeline network, compressor stations, and other oil and gas infrastructure that emit approximately 8 million tonnes of methane annually (equivalent to 200 million tonnes of carbon dioxide — the amount of annual carbon dioxide emissions from 400,000 vehicles). Significant progress has been made over the past decade for detecting and quantifying methane emissions at the source using surface-based technologies like hand-held measurement devices and vehicle-based detection sensors, but these technologies cannot quickly assess large areas. Other technologies, such as atmospheric sensing equipment, attached to satellites or manned and unmanned aircraft, can better estimate the volume of methane emissions across wide areas, but these measurements are typically less accurate than surface-based methods.
Selected projects under the funding opportunity will help to advance networks of surface-based methane sensor technologies for more timely monitoring of methane emissions across large areas of oil- and natural gas-producing basins. Other projects under this funding will design an integrated methane monitoring platform that will enable early detection and improved quantification of methane emissions along the entire natural gas supply chain to advance the accuracy of methane emissions estimates.