Volume 08: Proceedings of Applied Energy Symposium: MIT A+B, United States, 2020

Comprehensive Study of Major Methane Emissions Sources from Natural Gas System and Their Dependency to Throughput Zahra Heydarzadeh,Michael Mackinnon,Clinton Thai,Jeffrey Reed,Jack Brouwer

Abstract

This paper presents a comprehensive study of various sources of methane emissions, assess the impact of each source on emissions, and their dependency to throughput, time, and events. The analysis builds upon prior work [1] positing that a cause-based, marginal approach to estimating methane emission impacts of change in natural gas use was more accurate than assuming that methane emissions vary one-for-one with throughput. The results show that there are many components in the natural gas system that emit the same amount of methane to the atmosphere regardless of their operational mode; meaning some emissions sources have no or only partial dependence on throughput. As a result, reducing natural gas consumption in the future will not yield a directly proportional reduction in the methane emissions. The results of this study will be used in future works to build a model using the marginal emission methodology to estimate the change in methane emissions of natural gas systems as system throughput changes. It is believed that the results of this study will help energy policymakers to understand better the effect of policies aimed at reducing natural gas use on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and where such policies should be applied.

Keywords methane emissions, natural gas system, marginal methane emissions estimation, energy policymakers, GHG emissions

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