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Fixing inefficient oilfield flare-ups could dramatically reduce methane emissions

Oil and gas companies frequently use unwanted methane combustion (i.e., unwanted methane combustion) to limit the amount of nature Air escape into the atmosphere, but the practice may not be as good for the planet as previously thought. Scientists at the University of Michigan, Stanford and elsewhere have discovered that outbreak was much less efficient than industry assumed and emitted five times more methane (a potent greenhouse gas) than anticipated.

Companies and governments act on the belief that flares are always lit and burn 98% of the methane. However, aerial surveys of three US watersheds (where 80% of flares in the US take place) have shown that flares do not light up to 5% of the time and are ineffective when they do. work. In fact, the burst efficiency is only 91%. That doesn’t sound like a huge drop, but it shows that there is a large amount of unaccounted for methane that contributes to climate change.

There is an opposite to the findings. Lead researcher Genevieve Plant says Fatching’s problems are “quite solvable” with better management, and a solution would offer an equivalent solution. emissions reduce up to 3 million cars. In other words, this could be one of the easiest ways to control and limit methane. global warming. The challenge is getting companies and governments to work in harmony – that’s not guaranteed, even if the fix is ​​relatively simple.


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