Evaluating fugitive emissions sensing technologies (22.RP1.0146)

In Australia, the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act (NGER) requires large companies to report their greenhouse gas emissions annually. Methane emission is the second largest portion of greenhouse gas emissions. Fugitive emissions, venting and incomplete combustion have been issues in natural gas production and processing, of which methane is the main component.

The challenge

Although current greenhouse gas legislation offers industry a range of estimation methods, and different factor-based methods do exist, there is little understanding of how greatly estimates vary between methods — and why. It is crucial to understand the source of the gap and evaluate current methane emissions sensing technologies. Current technologies are lacking in accuracy. This limits reliable monitoring of methane in flare and vent sections, which can cause methane emissions control failure. The discrepancies between estimation approaches hinder industry’s ability to accurately identify, report on and reduce this significant subgroup of greenhouse gas emissions.

 

The solution

This project investigated the feasibility of a commercial gas sensor which has a coating applied and comes with a cloud-based interface, to enable remote monitoring of methane emissions from industrial sources, providing the assessment of current methods for determining fugitive emissions in LNG plants.

 

The outcome

This project highlights opportunities to apply emerging technologies and improvements in engineering estimates for more accurate and cost-effective determination of fugitive emissions and advance current efforts to minimise greenhouse gas emissions in the sector. The outcomes can be deployed to understand the gap between the current emissions factors and actual emissions in the production and processing sites on a regular basis.

Further improvements are required in the quality of coating application to ensure consistency, with investigation of the temperature effects on coatings and electronic component integrity recommended to improve the technical readiness level for the sensor.

 

The impact

The use of such individual sensors as assessed in this project can contribute to more detailed monitoring, and enable efficient maintenance protocol on-site; and ultimately can lead to more accurate reporting of the emissions within industry.

Project researchers

  • Dr Kwanghee Jeong
  • Dr Nicholas Ling
  • Dr Paul Stanwix
  • Prof. Eric May
  • Prof. Michael Johns

Project status

Complete

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