January 30, 2017

CU Boulder-led team lands grant to study gas storage emissions

Charlie Brennan
The Daily Camera

Researchers led by the University of Colorado have secured a $1.3 million grant from the Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy to study emissions from natural gas storage facilities across the U.S.

The CU researchers will join with scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the University of California Davis and aircraft operator Scientific Aviation to measure emissions from natural gas storage facilities. This will be the first field-based campaign of its kind, according to a news release.

Natural gas for power generation and heating is typically extracted and processed in remote locations before being transported closer to cities for storage. It is then stored at high pressures in underground reservoirs and caverns. While the location of storage sites near cities offers rapid on-demand delivery, it also poses significant environmental, health and safety risks in the event of a blowout.

"We aim to produce results that will enable sound policy decisions and business practices that keep everyone safe, and keep natural gas in the ground until we're ready to use it," Greg Rieker, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Boulder, and the principal investigator of the study, said in the news release.