SUper eMitters of Methane Detection Using Aircraft, Towers, and Intensive Observational Network (SUMMATION)

Conducting a comprehensive field study to identify and mitigate methane emissions in the southern San Joaquin Valley

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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Recipient

Berkeley, CA

Recipient Location

9th

Senate District

15th

Assembly District

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$1,901,489

Amount Spent

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Active

Project Status

Project Update

The team completed constructing and testing four methane-monitoring systems as part of the Tiered-observing system. CSU-Bakersfield methane monitoring system has been running since June 1, 2019. Based on the methane emissions map from the Oil and Gas and Dairy sector in California and SUMMATION domain, 4 sites (Buttonwillow, Taft, Shafter, and SouthWest) were selected as promising candidates for the Tier-1 observing system. The team has completed their second week-long campaign in Bakersfield to measure methane emissions from residential buildings and measured emissions from gas stovetops, gas ovens, storage water heaters, and tankless water heater from 9 different homes. The team also completed their first field campaign in the SUMMATION domain conducting on-road mobile survey in Bakersfield metropolitan area and around the elk-hills oil&gas field. This led the identification, and mitigation of an significant leak in a residential neighbourhood and led the a strengthening of the partnership with PG&E. A fourth Community Advisory Board Meeting organized by the Central California Asthma Collaborative was held in March 2022.

The Issue

Multiple atmospheric studies have identified a significant underestimation of methane emissions reported by greenhouse gas inventories. These regional and local uncertainties present barriers to accurate methane accounting and cost-effective mitigation. Other studies show that the methane footprints of the natural gas supply chain are dominated by a small number of super-emitters; in many cases, 1-10 percent of potential sources contribute more than half the emissions. Existing measurement systems in the southern San Joaquin Valley cannot apportion emissions between sectors or provide information with the space-time resolution and timeliness needed for mitigation guidance for super-emitters.

Project Innovation

The project SUMMATION establishes persistent regional-scale methane (CH4) emissions monitoring, conducts high spatial resolution remote sensing of point source detection and quantification, organizes intensive field campaigns including low-cost sensors assessment, and brings together and analyzes a large data set for the southern San Joaquin Valley.

Project Benefits

This project is directly responsive to the directive in Assembly Bill 1496 to improve the monitoring and measurement of CH4 emissions, particularly high-emission CH4 hot spots, using the best available and cost-effective methods. Facilitating an end-to-end multi-scale and scalable approach for CH4 monitoring can identify cost-effective investments in natural gas infrastructure and in natural gas IOUs' monitoring programs. This will effectively lower the cost and risk for maintenance crews, in addition to sheltering ratepayers from unnecessary monitoring and measurement costs, resource losses, and damages from associated smog forming compounds, hazardous air pollutants, and climate impacts from greenhouse gas emissions.

Environmental & Public Health

Environmental Sustainability

Early detection of methane fugitive emissions will shorten time needed to fix the largest leaks and, hence, reduce the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions.

Greater Reliability

Reliability

Identifying methane super-emitters will shorten the time needed to mitigate and fix the leaks and result in the improved resilience of California's natural gas system.

Increase Safety

Safety

Early detection and mitigation of methane emissions could reduce risk of catastrophic events such as pipeline explosions.

Energy Security

Energy Security

Early detection of gas leakage could prevent potential disruptions to California's natural gas system caused by pipeline shutdowns, and hence interruptions of natural gas fired electricity plants.

Key Project Members

Project Member

Sebastien Biraud

Subrecipients

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Leland Stanford Junior University

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University of California, Riverside

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Central California Asthma Collaborative

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