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Title: Quantifying methane emissions from natural gas production in north-eastern Pennsylvania

Abstract

Natural gas infrastructure releases methane (CH 4), a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. The estimated emission rate associated with the production and transportation of natural gas is uncertain, hindering our understanding of its greenhouse footprint. This study presents a new application of inverse methodology for estimating regional emission rates from natural gas production and gathering facilities in north-eastern Pennsylvania. An inventory of CH 4 emissions was compiled for major sources in Pennsylvania. This inventory served as input emission data for the Weather Research and Forecasting model with chemistry enabled (WRF-Chem), and atmospheric CH 4 mole fraction fields were generated at 3km resolution. Simulated atmospheric CH 4 enhancements from WRF-Chem were compared to observations obtained from a 3-week flight campaign in May 2015. Modelled enhancements from sources not associated with upstream natural gas processes were assumed constant and known and therefore removed from the optimization procedure, creating a set of observed enhancements from natural gas only. Simulated emission rates from unconventional production were then adjusted to minimize the mismatch between aircraft observations and model-simulated mole fractions for 10 flights. To evaluate the method, an aircraft mass balance calculation was performed for four flights where conditions permitted its use. Using the modelmore » optimization approach, the weighted mean emission rate from unconventional natural gas production and gathering facilities in north-eastern Pennsylvania approach is found to be 0.36% of total gas production, with a 2 σ confidence interval between 0.27 and 0.45% of production. Similarly, the mean emission estimates using the aircraft mass balance approach are calculated to be 0.40% of regional natural gas production, with a 2 σ confidence interval between 0.08 and 0.72% of production. Furthermore these emission rates as a percent of production are lower than rates found in any other basin using a top-down methodology, and may be indicative of some characteristics of the basin that make sources from the north-eastern Marcellus region unique.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [2]; ORCiD logo [2];  [1];  [1];  [5];  [6]
  1. The Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA (United States)
  2. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States)
  3. National Inst. of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, MD (United States)
  4. Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States)
  5. FLIR Systems, West Lafayette, IN (United States)
  6. Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Energy Technology Laboratory, Pittsburgh, PA, and Morgantown, WV (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1502861
Grant/Contract Number:  
FE0013590
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (Online); Journal Volume: 17; Journal Issue: 22; Journal ID: ISSN 1680-7324
Publisher:
European Geosciences Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
03 NATURAL GAS

Citation Formats

Barkley, Zachary R., Lauvaux, Thomas, Davis, Kenneth J., Deng, Aijun, Miles, Natasha L., Richardson, Scott J., Cao, Yanni, Sweeney, Colm, Karion, Anna, Smith, MacKenzie, Kort, Eric A., Schwietzke, Stefan, Murphy, Thomas, Cervone, Guido, Martins, Douglas, and Maasakkers, Joannes D. Quantifying methane emissions from natural gas production in north-eastern Pennsylvania. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.5194/acp-17-13941-2017.
Barkley, Zachary R., Lauvaux, Thomas, Davis, Kenneth J., Deng, Aijun, Miles, Natasha L., Richardson, Scott J., Cao, Yanni, Sweeney, Colm, Karion, Anna, Smith, MacKenzie, Kort, Eric A., Schwietzke, Stefan, Murphy, Thomas, Cervone, Guido, Martins, Douglas, & Maasakkers, Joannes D. Quantifying methane emissions from natural gas production in north-eastern Pennsylvania. United States. doi:10.5194/acp-17-13941-2017.
Barkley, Zachary R., Lauvaux, Thomas, Davis, Kenneth J., Deng, Aijun, Miles, Natasha L., Richardson, Scott J., Cao, Yanni, Sweeney, Colm, Karion, Anna, Smith, MacKenzie, Kort, Eric A., Schwietzke, Stefan, Murphy, Thomas, Cervone, Guido, Martins, Douglas, and Maasakkers, Joannes D. Thu . "Quantifying methane emissions from natural gas production in north-eastern Pennsylvania". United States. doi:10.5194/acp-17-13941-2017. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1502861.
@article{osti_1502861,
title = {Quantifying methane emissions from natural gas production in north-eastern Pennsylvania},
author = {Barkley, Zachary R. and Lauvaux, Thomas and Davis, Kenneth J. and Deng, Aijun and Miles, Natasha L. and Richardson, Scott J. and Cao, Yanni and Sweeney, Colm and Karion, Anna and Smith, MacKenzie and Kort, Eric A. and Schwietzke, Stefan and Murphy, Thomas and Cervone, Guido and Martins, Douglas and Maasakkers, Joannes D.},
abstractNote = {Natural gas infrastructure releases methane (CH4), a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. The estimated emission rate associated with the production and transportation of natural gas is uncertain, hindering our understanding of its greenhouse footprint. This study presents a new application of inverse methodology for estimating regional emission rates from natural gas production and gathering facilities in north-eastern Pennsylvania. An inventory of CH4 emissions was compiled for major sources in Pennsylvania. This inventory served as input emission data for the Weather Research and Forecasting model with chemistry enabled (WRF-Chem), and atmospheric CH4 mole fraction fields were generated at 3km resolution. Simulated atmospheric CH4 enhancements from WRF-Chem were compared to observations obtained from a 3-week flight campaign in May 2015. Modelled enhancements from sources not associated with upstream natural gas processes were assumed constant and known and therefore removed from the optimization procedure, creating a set of observed enhancements from natural gas only. Simulated emission rates from unconventional production were then adjusted to minimize the mismatch between aircraft observations and model-simulated mole fractions for 10 flights. To evaluate the method, an aircraft mass balance calculation was performed for four flights where conditions permitted its use. Using the model optimization approach, the weighted mean emission rate from unconventional natural gas production and gathering facilities in north-eastern Pennsylvania approach is found to be 0.36% of total gas production, with a 2σ confidence interval between 0.27 and 0.45% of production. Similarly, the mean emission estimates using the aircraft mass balance approach are calculated to be 0.40% of regional natural gas production, with a 2σ confidence interval between 0.08 and 0.72% of production. Furthermore these emission rates as a percent of production are lower than rates found in any other basin using a top-down methodology, and may be indicative of some characteristics of the basin that make sources from the north-eastern Marcellus region unique.},
doi = {10.5194/acp-17-13941-2017},
journal = {Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (Online)},
number = 22,
volume = 17,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {11}
}

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