Oil and gas developments emit stray gases to the atmosphere from a multitude of infrastructural sources. In Alberta, these leaks have 2x the greenhouse impact of all cars in the province. In some areas, toxic gases are also a problem. We took on a huge project in 2015 to map these leak sources. In the 12 mos. we’ve driven about 100,000 km, through conventional and unconventional developments, to find out where we should focus our energies on improvement. This project would take years for anyone else, but our new technology lets us do it faster. And, we’re improving the tech all the time!
New agreements to halve energy-sector methane emissions are now upon us! The majority of emissions are thought to originate from a small number of high-volume vents or leaks. How can we detect these very large plumes efficiently, and from far away? How do we quantify their source strength remotely? We are working with vehicle-, drone-, and satellite-based techniques that help industry and governments make decisions. It’s an exciting time with lots to learn! Read (in english or french) the outcomes of our large NRCan project in which we focused on mobile sensing.
Along with Lisa Kellman’s adjacent Environmental Sciences Lab, we have a fully capable gas lab with capabilities for common gas analyses (two chromatographs and various optical instruments), stable isotopes (Isoprime IRMS), and multiple Picarro and Los Gatos spectrometers.
Lab sensor test facilities include environmental chamber (-70 to +200 degrees), an 8-port 3 MFC gas blender, and multiple benchmarking and process control instruments. Our outdoor test beds include wet, lowland, and arctic-alpine type environments within 4 hour drive from campus. These locations cover a wide range of test conditions from -25 to +35 degrees, gentle or high winds (>100 km/h common), deep snow (>2 m).