Key Takeaways from EERL's "Blinded Evaluation of Airborne Methane Source Detection"
Results of a Double-Blind Study of Gas Mapping LiDAR’s Methane Detection and Quantification
A recent fully blind study conducted by Carleton University’s Energy and Emissions Research Laboratory (EERL) used controlled methane releases within active oil and gas facilities. The goal was to provide a true test of Gas Mapping LiDAR’s capabilities to detect, locate, and quantify unknown sources of methane emissions.
Bridger Photonics was conducting an aerial scan of active oil and gas facilities, and this experiment was conducted in parallel with EERL’s facility survey. A ground team moved beneath the scan to perform controlled methane releases at several sites, providing a true, fully blind assessment of Gas Mapping LiDAR in real-world conditions.
Here are a few of the highlights from the study:
1. Bridger Photonics Detected All Emissions Above 2 kg/hr
Gas Mapping LiDAR operates with a detection sensitivity of 3 kg/hr (161 scfh) with >90% probability of detection (PoD) under typical operational conditions. The study found that Bridger Photonics detected all emissions above 2 kg/hr and many sources below that level. Studies show that Bridger Photonics’ detection sensitivity results in the detection of >90% of emissions in typical production basins.
Why It’s Important: This was an independent, double-blind evaluation of Gas Mapping LiDAR’s capabilities within an actual oil and gas field. Bridger wasn’t even told the evaluation was being performed. The ability to detect at the stated rate, and even below, for the production sector is evidence that Gas Mapping LiDAR can be a potential replacement for optical gas imaging (OGI) cameras. Subsequent studies show that Bridger catches more emissions from fewer emitters than OGI cameras.
2. Gas Mapping LiDAR Quantified Blind Releases with a Bias of -8%
Within this blind testing, Bridger Photonics quantified the controlled releases with a bias of only -8%.
Why It’s Important: Although it’s a small sample size, the result indicates that Gas Mapping LiDAR can quantify inventories for corporate sustainability or gas certification with single-digit percent uncertainty. Further internal studies by Bridger support this finding.
3. Results Were Achieved Under Poor Conditions
The conditions during testing were challenging. First, the controlled releases were at or near the detection sensitivity limit of Gas Mapping LiDAR. Adding to that challenge, scan areas were wet and muddy, which can make detecting leaks more challenging. Finally, winds were turbulent and inconsistent, which makes emission rate quantification more difficult.
Why It’s Important: Gas Mapping LiDAR caught all methane emissions above 2 kg/hr and achieved single-digit % aggregate quantification uncertainty despite these difficult conditions. While weather is somewhat predictable, it can take a turn and varies immensely from basin to basin. It’s important that a methane detection technology can perform well in poor conditions and consistently within basins of varying weather and environmental settings.
Read the full study linked here.
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