Improvement of an Airborne Natural Gas Leak - Detection System

Summary

SCH Number
2014028210
Lead Agency
Energy Commission (California Energy Commission)
Document Title
Improvement of an Airborne Natural Gas Leak - Detection System
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Received

Document Description
Plumes from leaking natural gas lines disperse in the atmosphere in a turbulent, chaotic manner. Surveillance flights searching for evidence of such plumes will be typically flown at a minimum safe altitude (usually 500 feet above ground level). This requires the airplane to fly at a substantial distance downwind of a pipeline to allow the plume time to rise to 500 feet. Once the airplane is in the proper position and detects a large methane enhancement using a highly responsive and fast response methane monitor, a numerical air dispersion model (run back in time) can be used to identify the location of the leak. However, the "black trajectories" estimated by the air dispersion model to identify the source of the leaks have relatively large uncertainties. The proposed research will investigate ways to verify the accuracy of the "back" trajectories" that are essential to locate the position of the leaking source and perhaps, test the system using leaks detected by other means or intentional testing leaks to see if the proposed approach is able to identify the location of the known leaks. Multiple configurations of the numerical air dispersion model and the "back trajectories" that are essential to locate the position of the leaking source and perhaps, test the system using leaks detected by other means or intentional testing leaks to see if the proposed approach is able to identify the locations of the known leaks. Multiple configurations of the numerical air dispersion model and the black trajectory module would be tested to find the optimum setting under different weather conditions. In addition, since there are other sources of methane (e.g., wetlands, dairy farms) improvements is needed to determine the ambient measurements that originate from leaks from the natural gas system Research will be conducted on how to best identify methane that is coming from leaks in the natural gas system (e.g., use of other gaseous species to co-emitted with methane in the natural gas system to "fingerprint" methane from natural gas).

Contact Information
Simone Brant
California Energy Commission
1516 Ninth Street, MS-48
Sacramento, CA 95814

(916) 327-2201

Location

Cities
Davis
Counties
Yolo

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Categorical Exemption
Type, Section or Code
S: 14CCR15306
Reasons for Exemption
Class 6 - Basic Data collection, research, experimental management, and resource evaluation activities that do not result in major disturbances to an environmental resource.
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