Ethane: A Key to Evaluating Natural Gas Industrial Emissions
Monday, 15 December 2014
Airborne and mobile-surface measurements of ethane at 1Hz in the Denver-Julesberg oil and gas production basin in NE Colorado reveal a rich set of emission sources and magnitudes. Although ethane has only a mild influence on hemispheric ozone levels, it is often co-emitted with larger hydrocarbons including hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and ozone precursors that impact local and regional air quality. Ethane/methane enhancement ratios provide a map of expected emission source types in different areas around greater Denver. Links are drawn between the ethane content of isolated methane emission plumes and the prevalence of concomitant HAP and ozone precursor species. The efficacy of using ethane as a dilution tracer specific to the oil & gas footprint will be demonstrated.