From: Ker Than via Stanford School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences
Published October 28, 2016 02:48 PM

Super Emitters - are responsible for more than half of U.S. methane emissions

The bulk of methane emissions in the United States can be traced to a small number of “super emitting” natural gas wells, according to a new study.

“We’re finding that when it comes to natural gas leaks, a 50/5 rule applies: That is, the largest 5 percent of leaks are typically responsible for more than 50 percent of the total volume of leakage,” said study co-author Adam Brandt, an assistant professor of energy resources engineering at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences.

The findings, published online in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, could lead to more efficient strategies for sampling emissions and fixing the most significant leaks, said Brandt, who is also a senior fellow at Stanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy. By focusing on finding and fixing the biggest emitters, companies can significantly reduce the amount of methane leaking into the atmosphere.

A bridge fuel

Natural gas is playing an increasingly important role in meeting U.S. and global energy needs and could serve as a “bridge fuel” for countries as they transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy resources. But natural gas consists predominately of methane, so even small leaks from natural gas wells can create large climate concerns because methane is a potent greenhouse gas – it’s about 30 times more effective at trapping solar heat than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period.

Continue reading at Stanford School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences

Photo courtesy of Steve Reisman

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