Bridger Photonics, Colorado State University Collaborating on CH4 Emissions Measuring

Dec. 21, 2023
Under the DOE funded project, CSU’s Energy Institute will utilize Bridger’s aerial LiDAR methane detection technology, Gas Mapping LiDAR to collect data.

Montana-based Bridger Photonics will participate in a research project, the Site-Aerial-Basin Emission Reconciliation project (SABER), with Colorado State University (CSU) as the lead investigator to advance the understanding of methane emissions measurement and reporting.
CSU’s Energy Institute will supervise the project and utilize Bridger’s aerial LiDAR methane detection technology, Gas Mapping LiDAR (GML) to collect data. GML technology is a laser-based technology attached to small aircraft and flown over oil and gas sites to detect, measure, and quantify methane emissions.
Methane, known as natural gas, is the biggest resource for generating utility-scale electricity in the U.S. Also known for its chemical formula CH4, with one carbon atom attached to four hydrogen atoms, methane is viewed by many environmentalists as more damaging as a greenhouse gas emission than even carbon dioxide.
The project is funded through the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and aims to demonstrate the possibility of reconciliation of top-down and bottom-up emissions measurements on a basin-wide scale, and how the type of measurement-based inventory that will be generated can be translated to other basins.
The project will work with operators to measure emissions in the Denver-Julesburg and the Upper Green River basins.
“To make data-driven decisions on how we mitigate emissions, we need access to robust information on what work practices and equipment in a given region drive emissions and to what degree,” said Asa Carre-Burritt, Bridger’s Director of Policy and External Affairs. “This project provides regionally relevant data and could help operators develop the most effective emissions management strategies.”
The top-down approaches provide regional data lacking resolution on emissions sources, while bottom-up approaches utilizing source-specific calculations fail to estimate accurate total emissions. The project will use GML measurements for comprehensive, source-resolved data across the study region with onsite studies (run by CSU and the University of Wyoming Center for Air Quality) to provide increased granularity and insight.
The source resolved measurements will be compared to tower-based regional data collected by the Earth-Atmosphere Interactions Lab at Pennsylvania State University.
“Key to this project is the layer-cake approach – covering every level from companies’ operational data to on-site measurement to overflights to regional estimates,” stated Dan Zimmerle, Director of CSU’s Methane Emissions Technology Evaluation Center.