The nation’s natural gas pipeline network is vast – including more than 300,000 miles of interstate and intrastate pipelines. While natural gas is a relatively clean energy source, a leak or rupture anywhere in a pipeline system can release methane into the atmosphere, thereby reducing its economic viability and increasing its environmental footprint. If an understanding can be gained of the effectiveness and accuracy of new methane emissions detection and quantification technologies at field-scale, that information can then be used to inform industry of the best methods to adopt, including superior and even transformational technologies that have yet to gain a significant market share. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) are working to advance methane emission quantification research though validation of the performance of new technologies that are intended to better measure and understand emissions derived from the natural gas supply chain.
Many of the current barriers to the adoption of new technologies related to emissions monitoring and quantification could be overcome by DOE/NETL's data gathering efforts being carried out in collaboration with industry and academia and the careful analysis of multiple data sets from various sources and timeframes. Similarly, understanding the differences between natural gas transportation systems within the industry could provide a framework to develop specific methane emissions quantification methods.
DOE/NETL’s Methane Emissions Quantification research is focused on: