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!
Along with Lisa Kellman’s adjacent Environmental Sciences Lab, are a fully capable CCS and energy sector leak detection lab with capabilities for common gas analyses (two chromatographs and various optical instruments), stable isotopes (Isoprime IRMS), and radiocarbon gas extractions (custom extraction line).
Lab sensor test facilities include environmental chamber and gas blender, multiple high-resolution real-time instruments for benchmarking and process control, and an automated flux generator with capability to add synthetic snow. 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). Our partners can help extend outdoor sensor testing from pole to pole.