Kentucky Geological Survey, Energy and Environment Cabinet Announce Project to Measure Methane Emissions

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) and the Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS) at the University of Kentucky (UK) have announced a collaborative project focused on mine methane (CH4) emissions in the state. Developed in response to Kentucky’s new energy strategy, KYE3: Designs for a Resilient Economy​​, the project will measure methane emissions from underground mine ventilation and other mine-related sources using a combination of aircraft, drones and vehicles.

The EEC plans to use the data to explore how methane, a potent greenhouse gas, may be captured for methane-related economic development opportunities such as local electricity generation or renewable natural gas and carbon offset markets.

“This is an excellent example of collaboration and how the KYE3 energy strategy addresses energy, environment and economic development — three issues that are inextricably linked,” said Kenya Stump, executive director of the EEC’s Office of Energy Policy.

The first step in reducing methane emissions is accurate measurement. This is a significant challenge as sources of methane emissions are so numerous and widespread that discrete measurements at individual sites are not feasible.

“Because methane emissions are derived from many sources, successful abatement requires accurate measurements in an efficient manner,” says to KGS Principal Investigator Thomas Parris, Ph.D.

KGS geologists are working with UK’s College of Engineering and Department of Chemistry (in the UK College of Arts and Sciences), along with GHGSat, Inc., to conduct and compare measurements from aircraft, drones, and vehicles.

Chelsea Colley

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