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Difficulty Measuring Methane Slows Plan to Slash Emissions

By Cathy Bussewitz | JAN. 31, 2023

NEW YORK (AP) — The doors of a metal box slide open, and a drone rises over a gas well in Pennsylvania. Its mission: To find leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, so that energy companies can plug the leaks and reduce the emissions that pollute the air.

The drone is among an array of instruments whose purpose is to detect leaks of methane, which scientists say causes roughly 30% of manmade global warming. Along with satellites, ground sensors and planes armed with infrared cameras, drones are part of the backbone of a new federal policy to compel energy companies to record and slash their methane emissions.

Drones produced by American Robotics, like the one in Pennsylvania, have found unlit flares emitting methane. These drones can make several trips each day to check oil wells or storage tanks. But they’re not widely deployed. American Robotics expects to have 30 drone systems deployed by year’s end, said Reese Mozer, the company’s CEO.

“There’s more demand for our systems than we have the capacity to serve right now,” Mozer said.

Source: AP News


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