Not Your Father’s Emissions Detection


Nov 18, 2022

Mitigating Methane

Methane, once released, has over 80x more atmospheric warming power for its first two decades than carbon dioxide. Reductions in methane emissions may be one of the fastest and cheapest solutions to slow global warming. Using technology to Identify major emissions sources will focus mitigation efforts, maximizing their impact to provide immediate and long-term environmental benefit.

Based on November 2022 satellite data from emissions monitoring firm GHGSat Inc, these methane super-emitter sites, if corrected, could immediately and positively impact the climate.

  • Turkmenistan - Poorly maintained oil and gas equipment, plume emissions rate estimated over 8,500 kg/hour
  • Canada - Anaerobic landfills decomposition, plume emission rate near Montreal estimated nearly 1,185 kg/hour
  • Poland - Coal mining, two plumes near Czech border estimated at over 3,400 kg/hour
  • Iran - Oil and gas facilities near the Arsanjan-Kheirgoo Gas Compressor Station, Fars province, estimated at 795 kg/hour
  • New Mexico, USA - Coal mine venting, estimated over 440 kg/hour
  • India - Landfills, estimated at over 1,300 kg/hour
  • China - Six releases near Daqing oilfield, combined methane release rate over 4,470 kg/hour

Detection Technology

Organizations around the world are using multi-spectral satellites to detect and monitor methane emissions. Emissions location services are offered by GHGSat, with sensor-equipped aircraft and satellites. Bridger Photonics uses aerial-deployed LiDAR technology to map emissions and leakage - precisely detecting, locating, and quantifying methane emissions.

Satellite launches in 2023 are planned by US non-profit Environmental Defense Fund, a consortium including Carbon Mapper, the state of California, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Planet Labs.

Source Identification

Once emissions sources and sites are located, technology can measure and monitor the methane leakages. FLIR cameras can be used from vehicles (cars, trucks, aircraft) or handheld to “see” methane.

FLIR cameras can convert the invisible infrared energy of methane into electronic signals, creating a visible digital output. Companies like Teledyne FLIR offer customized tech products for precisely locating leaks and emissions.

On-site Monitoring

Once sources of fugitive emissions have been detected, located, and mitigated, technology can be used to continuously monitor sites, pinpointing equipment with leaks.

There are many methods to assess the presence and intensity of leaks – low-tech (soap bubbles) and advanced ( Ventmeter & Project Canary). Low-tech monitoring is worker-intensive and requires onsite visits to collect data, while modern tech solutions are often a one-shot installation, providing a data stream and immediate notification of leaks/equipment failures.

Global Problem, Technology Fix

Shutting down methane super-emitters is a global concern, and eliminating leaks is the most impactful way to make quick progress to reduce environmental impact.

Identifying the primary source and scope of global methane emissions is now possible through technology. Rapidly and securely sealing emissions to prevent further environmental damage is the cost-effective and responsible solution, and site monitoring technologies can then measure and confirm effective control.

While remediation could often be unpredictable and costly using traditional methods, new technology in the form of biomineralization is an excellent single application solution that is the safest and most effective way to eliminate leaks. The technology now exists to seal leaks efficiently and effectively at a predictable and affordable price, eliminating methane emissions and enabling continued production of clean and affordable oil and natural gas.