Public Release: 

Tailored methane measurement services are to be developed for shale gas extraction, municipal waste

Cuadrilla Resources, Veolia Environnement and National Grid will work with a European consortium led by the Centre for Carbon Measurement at the National Physical Laboratory, to develop and test methane measurement instruments for these sectors

National Physical Laboratory

Climate-KIC, Europe's largest public-private innovation partnership working to address the challenge of climate change, has awarded €1.266 million to FuME (Fugitive Methane Emissions), a new project that will help to identify fugitive methane emissions.

Fugitive methane emissions are of great importance to climate change and governments' and industry's response to it, due to its high global warming impact . Capturing fugitive methane emissions can also deliver a profitable return by directly producing saleable gas. Methane abatement options can therefore have a net profit, and even those that do not can be relatively cheap to deploy with large climate change mitigation benefits.

Better detection and quantification of fugitive methane emissions will contribute substantially to climate change mitigation, as methane represents 16% of total global greenhouse gas emissions and, due to the high global warming impact, more than a third of anthropogenic warming. As well as mitigation opportunities, this creates potentially huge opportunities for innovation and economic growth through the provision of new products and services for the sectors in which fugitive methane can be captured.

The project will develop methane measurement services, made up of a number of different products including modelling tools, a laser based open-path methane detection spectrometer and sensor networks in which the services can be adapted to user requirements depending on the sector, the complexity of the site, and the user requirements in each case.

The project will see the Centre for Carbon Measurement at NPL working with ARIA Technologies, CEREA and LSCE to adapt instrumentation, measurement techniques and methodologies for the target sectors. Industry representatives Cuadrilla Resources, Veolia Environnement and National Grid will provide sites and operational expertise to the project.

Publications from the project will include a set of guidelines per industry (municipal waste water treatment, transmission grid, shale gas extraction) for fugitive methane emission measurement best practice, a collection of reports summarizing the project results, scientific papers on different methods for quantifying fugitive methane emissions and the comparative accuracy levels, the learning from the project for emissions factors for municipal waste water treatment, the use of inverse modelling to estimate fugitive emissions when used in conjunction with measurements, as well as a comparison of different dispersion models.

The findings of this work are expected to contribute to standards and guideline documents for industry including for example Best Available Technology guidelines highlighting how to monitor sites and capture fugitive losses.

Jane Burston, head of the Centre for Carbon Measurement at the National Physical Laboratory said:

"Methane plays a big role in global warming. The IPCC recently updated their estimate of methane's global warming potential from 72 times that of carbon dioxide to 86 times over a 20 year time period. So it's a critical area to tackle for climate change mitigation. At the same time many opportunities to reduce fugitive losses are profit-making or cost neutral, so it's a potential business opportunity too."

Mary Ritter, Chief Executive Officer, Climate-KIC said:

"Methane is a significant driver of climate-change and a valuable resource. Fugitive methane emissions measurement services will help a wide range of operators to better manage their processes and increase their profitability. Climate-KIC is proud to fund the project and collaborate with FuME's consortium to fight climate change by stimulating clean innovation and growth in Europe. "

"We are delighted to partner with Climate-KIC on this important quest to validate a new generation of measurement technologies," said Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla Resources.

Neil Dawson, Environmental Engineering Manager, National Grid, said: "We want to make absolutely sure that our gas transmission business plays a part in tackling climate change. That's why we are bringing our expertise to the table to help develop methane measurement services to reduce fugitive methane emissions."

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About the project partners

  • Climate-KIC is the European Union's largest public-private innovation partnership focused on climate change, consisting of dynamic companies, the best academic institutions and the public sector.

    The organisation integrates education, entrepreneurship and innovation resulting in connected, creative transformation of knowledge and ideas into economically viable products or services that help to mitigate climate change.

    Climate-KIC is one of three Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) created in 2010 by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). The EIT is an EU body whose mission is to create sustainable growth. Climate-KIC supports this mission by addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation.

  • Centre for Carbon Measurement at the National Physical Laboratory: The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is the UK's national measurement institute, which means it is a centre of excellence for accurate measurement, science and technology. The Centre for Carbon Measurement at NPL reduces uncertainties in climate data, provides the robust measurement that is required to account for, price and trade carbon emissions and helps develop and accelerate the take up of low carbon technologies.

  • ARIA Technologies, founded by a group of researchers from the French electricity board EDF, has played a pioneering role in the global development of atmospheric modelling. The original group has grown into a team of engineers drawn from various fields of atmospheric sciences, who have placed this knowledge-based SME at the cutting edge.

    At ARIA Technologies we specialise in computation of pollutant dispersion, meteorological analysis, wind, emission, and air quality modelling. ARIA Technologies works with leading European laboratories to offer the most suitable solutions to industry, governments, and engineering consultancies.

  • CEREA (Atmospheric Environment Center; http://www.enpc.fr/english/research/cerea.htm or http://cerea.enpc.fr/en/index.html) is a joint laboratory of École des Ponts ParisTech and EDF R&D. Its research activities focus on developing a better understanding of the dynamics of the lower atmosphere, modeling air pollution at local and regional scales, and developing new methods for data and image assimilation in geoscientific models.

  • Cuadrilla Resources is a UK company based in Staffordshire. Formed in 2007 as a privately owned exploration and production company, our focus is on bringing together experts to recover natural resources, like those found in Lancashire.

    Members of Cuadrilla's management team have each played leading roles in the drilling and/or hydraulic fracturing of several thousand natural gas and oil wells around the world. The company aims to be a model for the safe and environmentally responsible exploration and development of onshore gas resources in the UK. The Cuadrilla team is acutely aware of all the responsibilities this brings, particularly with regard to safety, environmental protection and working with local communities.

  • LSCE is a laboratory related to the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin (UVSQ). It is located at two sites near Paris (Saclay and Gif-sur-Yvette). With more than 350 people (150 permanents), the LSCE is a part of the Institute Pierre Simon Laplace (IPSL), which federates several laboratories involved in climate and environment studies in the Paris - île de France region.

  • National Grid is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world. We own and manage the grids that connect people to the energy they need, from whatever the source. In Britain and the north-eastern states of the US we run systems that deliver gas and electricity to millions of people, businesses and communities. In Britain, we run the gas and electricity systems that our society is built on, delivering gas and electricity across the country. In the North Eastern US, we connect more than seven million gas and electric customers to vital energy sources, essential for our modern lifestyles.

  • Veolia Environnement, the world leader in the environmental services sector, offers customized solutions in three complementary business areas: water management, waste management and energy management.

    Veolia Environnement develops innovative solutions to reduce and avoid greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions for all its activities, from assessment all the way to technical solutions, applicable to Group's own facilities, those it manages and the services it offers.

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