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J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2015 Jul;65(7):844-55. doi: 10.1080/10962247.2015.1025924.

Estimation of methane emission from California natural gas industry.

Author information

1
a California State University , Fullerton , CA , USA.

Abstract

Energy generation and consumption are the main contributors to greenhouse gases emissions in California. Natural gas is one of the primary sources of energy in California. A study was recently conducted to develop current, reliable, and California-specific source emission factors (EFs) that could be used to establish a more accurate methane emission inventory for the California natural gas industry. Twenty-five natural gas facilities were surveyed; the surveyed equipment included wellheads (172), separators (131), dehydrators (17), piping segments (145), compressors (66), pneumatic devices (374), metering and regulating (M&R) stations (19), hatches (34), pumps (2), and customer meters (12). In total, 92,157 components were screened, including flanges (10,101), manual valves (10,765), open-ended lines (384), pressure relief valves (358), regulators (930), seals (146), threaded connections (57,061), and welded connections (12,274). Screening values (SVs) were measured using portable monitoring instruments, and Hi-Flow samplers were then used to quantify fugitive emission rates. For a given SV range, the measured leak rates might span several orders of magnitude. The correlation equations between the leak rates and SVs were derived. All the component leakage rate histograms appeared to have the same trend, with the majority of leakage rates<0.02 cubic feet per minute (cfm). Using the cumulative distribution function, the geometric mean was found to be a better indicator than the arithmetic mean, as the mean for each group of leakage rates found. For most component types, the pegged EFs for SVs of ≥10,000 ppmV and of ≥50,000 ppmV are relatively similar. The component-level average EFs derived in this study are often smaller than the corresponding ones in the 1996 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency/Gas Research Institute (EPA/GRI) study.

IMPLICATIONS:

Twenty-five natural gas facilities in California were surveyed to develop current, reliable, and California-specific source emission factors (EFs) for the natural gas industry. Screening values were measured by using portable monitoring instruments, and Hi-Flow samplers were then used to quantify fugitive emission rates. The component-level average EFs derived in this study are often smaller than the corresponding ones in the 1996 EPA/GRI study. The smaller EF values from this study might be partially attributable to the employment of the leak detection and repair program by most, if not all, of the facilities surveyed.

PMID:
26079558
DOI:
10.1080/10962247.2015.1025924
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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