On Methane Leaks from Pipelines in Bryan and College Station, Texas, USA
Kristen Koch1, Shelby Thomas1, Elora Arana1, Geoff Roest2, Gunnar W. Schade2, *
1 Texas A&M University, Environmental Programs, Texas, USA
2 Texas A&M University, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, College Station, TX 77843-3150, USA
Methane is the second most important anthropogenically emitted greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide. Anthropogenic methane sources in the US are dominated by emissions from domestic ruminants and from fossil fuel exploration, storage and transmission. The fossil fuel source is primarily due to natural gas leaks along the production to distribution chain, and pipeline leaks in urban areas have been identified as a significant contributor. In this study, we evaluated possible leaks in three neighborhoods of a midsize Texas metropolitan region surrounding Texas A&M University through mobile measurements using a fast response, high precision methane analyzer. Neighborhoods were selected by age and land use, and each predetermined driving route was evaluated three times. Methane spikes exceeding 2.5 ppm were identified as leaks, and approximately one leak per mile of urban road was discovered. The largest leaks were found around the Texas A&M natural gas plant and in the oldest neighborhood to its north, while fewer leaks were found in a slightly younger neighborhood. No leaks were found in the youngest, less than 20-year old neighborhood suggesting that pipeline system age is a strong determinant of current and future leaks from the natural gas distribution system.
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* Address correspondence to this author at the Texas A&M University, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, College Station, TX 77843-3150, USA, Tel: +1 (979) 845-0633; Fax: +1 (979) 862-4466; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org