Up to $32 million (£26.5m) of funding has been announced to support the reduction of methane emissions from the oil and gas industry in the US.
It will be awarded for research and development of new monitoring, measurement and mitigation technologies to help detect, quantify and reduce methane emissions across oil and natural gas-producing regions.
According to the Department of Energy (DOE), the US has more than two million active, abandoned or repurposed wells as well as its oil and natural gas pipeline network, compressor stations and other oil and gas infrastructure that emit around eight million tonnes of methane annually – equivalent to the carbon emissions from 400,000 vehicles.
It adds while “significant progress” has been made over the last decade for detecting and quantifying methane emissions at the source using subsurface-based technologies like hand-held measurement devices and vehicle-based detection sensors, these technologies cannot quickly assess large areas.
Other technologies, such as atmospheric sensing equipment, attached to satellites or manned and unmanned aircrafts, can better estimate the volume of methane emissions across wide areas, however these measurements are typically less accurate than surface-based methods.
The DOE will provide funding for projects that will help advance networks of surface-based methane sensor technologies for more timely monitoring of methane emissions across large areas of oil and natural gas-producing basins.
It will also support projects that will design an integrated methane monitoring platform that will enable early detection and improved quantification of methane emissions along the entire natural gas supply chain.
The funding will support the goal to reduce global methane emissions by 30% by 2030 compared to 2020 levels.
Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said: “Methane is more destructive than carbon dioxide to our health and environment so it’s crucial we develop solutions to identify and mitigate leaks at their source.
“Today’s funding bolsters DOE’s efforts to advance next-generation technologies and systems to help make the natural gas infrastructure leak-tight, which will dramatically reduce methane emissions across the country and deliver cleaner air for all.”