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Methane Quantification

Man checking manometer

The nation’s natural gas pipeline network is vast, including more than 300,000 miles of interstate and intrastate pipelines. A leak or rupture anywhere along the natural gas value chain 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 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. NETL is working to advance methane emissions quantification research though validation and integration of new and existing technologies to develop a multi-scale (ground-based to low-Earth orbit) methane emissions quantification network to provide a better characterization and understanding of emissions from the natural gas supply chain.

Many current barriers to the adoption of new technologies related to emissions monitoring and quantification can be overcome by NETL's data gathering efforts being carried out in collaboration with industry and academia and the careful integration and analysis of various spatial and temporal data sets collected using both top-down and bottom-up methods. Similarly, understanding the differences between natural gas transportation systems within the industry could provide a framework to develop specific methane emissions quantification methods.

NETL’s methane Emissions quantification research is focused on:

  • “Proof of Concept” and prototype development of advanced sensors and remote sensing platforms to detect and evaluate emissions with greater accuracy and improved reliability.
  • Characterization of methane emissions from each element in the gas production, processing, and transport chain, including evaluation of specific components such as pipelines, valves, pneumatic controllers, compressors, and storage tanks.
  • Field evaluation of sensing platforms to provide “real-time” methane emissions quantification throughout midstream infrastructure in a real-world setting.
  • Integration of multi-scale methane quantification technologies and methods to provide an accurate depiction of methane emissions along the natural gas supply chain.

Methane Emissions Technology Evaluation Center