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Methane emissions from natural gas local distribution focus of new study
Date:4/10/2013

PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State University's (WSU) Laboratory for Atmospheric Research is leading a nationwide field study to better understand methane emissions associated with the distribution of natural gas.

Beginning this month, a WSU research team led by Regents Professor Brian Lamb will quantify methane emissions throughout local gas systems (from city border to customer meter) and use the data to estimate a national methane emissions rate for U.S. natural gas distribution systems.

"This work is important and the study is unique,'' said Lamb. "It is critical to do these careful measurements along the entire natural gas industry supply chain, so that we have a clear understanding of the impact of the industry's greenhouse gas emissions. These are critical questions as our nation faces the challenges of energy, sustainability and climate change.''

The $800,000 project--$85,000 of which goes to WSU--will be conducted with coordination and support from major natural gas utilities, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Conestoga-Rovers and Associates, an engineering and environmental consulting firm.

Potent greenhouse gas

Large amounts of natural gas are domestically available because of dramatic advancements in technology, creating significant economic and energy security benefits for the nation. Composed mostly of methane, natural gas is a cleaner fossil fuel that, when burned, produces less carbon dioxide and fewer greenhouse gas emissions than any other fossil fuel.

However, uncombusted natural gas is a potent greenhouse gas. When it is released into the atmosphere at various points along the supply chain, it has a higher warming potential than carbon dioxide, the principal contributor of manmade climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are believed to be impacting the earth's climate.

Obtaining direct, carefully measured data under real-world conditions is essentia
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Contact: Tina Hilding
thilding@wsu.edu
509-335-5095
Washington State University
Source:Eurekalert

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