I travelled to the United Kingdom to help with fieldwork coordinated by Dave Lowry’s research group at Royal Holloway University of London (RHUL) in November 2017. This trip was part of a knowledge exchange between our lab and Dave Lowry (with whom our lab has previously partnered) that involved a member of each respective group joining each other’s methane measurement campaigns. We completed two days of extensive mobile measurement surveys in several different areas of the UK, all of which offered more varied scenery than that of my most recent Canadian fieldwork in Lloydminster, AB (a plus)!
Day one was spent sampling in a coal mine and around several landfills in Wales. Collected data was used for a student’s senior project, and we were able to have full site-access to the open cut anthracite mine. While at the mine, we drove down in the pit in a Land Rover to continuously measure methane using a portable LGR analyzer. We also periodically took bag samples in areas of high methane concentrations for isotopic analysis, which was done back in Lowry’s lab after the campaigns. The pit is 150 – 200 metres deep and the coal seams, which we were able to see up close, range from a few centimetres to over a metre in thickness. The mine plans to close in 2018, with remediation immediately following. The rest of the day involved scoping out smelly landfills, which was not quite as exciting as touring around a mine in a Land Rover, but still interesting none the less.
Day two consisted of continuous measurement surveys along the North Sea coast, where our main target was large onshore natural gas terminals and compressor stations. We did not have site access to these facilities, so we measured around the perimeters of them and tried to get downwind of any observed plumes.We also took several bag samples during these surveys for isotopic analysis, which made the space in the car very limited by the end of the day!
The next two days were spent in the lab back at RHUL analyzing the bag samples that were collected atsites of interest. Lowry’s lab was equipped with a high-precision, automated mass spectrometer, which was really cool to see in action. While waiting for samples to run, I also explored around the university, which was the most beautiful campus I have ever seen (sorry StFX)!
During this trip, I also represented the Flux Lab at the Industrial Methane Measurement Conference (IMMC), which was held in Antwerp, Belgium. The 2-day conference consisted of several interesting presentations on current methane measurement technologies and challenges in Europe and abroad.
This trip was my first time outside North America, and I was able to take in 3 countries in a short time; I think it goes without saying that this was a field experience I will never forget!
Many thanks to Dave Risk and Dave Lowry for the amazing opportunity.