Innovative solutions for abating methane emissions in gas networks
Environmental sustainability has become one of the most relevant drivers for the future evolution of the energy mix in most countries. Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas emitted by human activities, but it is not the only pollutant capable of causing harm to people and the planet.
Natural gas presents clear advantages in terms of lower GHG emissions from combustion compared to other fossil fuels. However methane emissions along the entire value chain have been pointed out as a relevant issue that could threaten the positive environmental cost-benefit balance of natural gas. Nevertheless, published methane leakage assessments so far are based on estimations that in most cases lack any connection with real data.
In order to develop effective and efficient environmental technologies for leak detection, Enagas launched an R&D entrepreneurship program, together with the University Carlos III of Madrid, for fostering the infrared technology for gas leak detection, processing and reporting, as it is called LDAR philosophy.
Taken into account the reference document on best available techniques (BREF), the best practices (BAT) and methodologies for abating fugitive methane emissions in the midstream process of the natural gas value chain, the LDAR (leak detection and repair) program is the best and most cost effective methodology recognized by the gas sector and a common practice in the international framework. The potential of reduction using this methodology is close to 40%, according to EDF (www.edf.org/methanesolutions).
With this aim, this paper presents technical innovations developed by Enagas in order to reduce the carbon footprint related to the development and operation of gas infrastructures. In particular, Enagas start-up VIRA GAS IMAGING (http://www.viragasimaging.com/products/) has developed a pioneering portable uncooled infra-red camera (OGI JULIETA) that represents a quick and cost-efficient system for natural gas, hydrocarbons and VOCs leaks detection and monitoring.
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Mr Jesus Manuel Gil Jimenez
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