NIST Upgrades Technology for Monitoring Methane Emissions

Traditional methods for tracking methane emissions are based on economic activity. For instance, one might calculate the emissions from a CAFO by multiplying the number of animals there by an estimate of how much methane each animal emits. The NIST method, on the other hand, estimates emissions by directly measuring the variation of methane and other gases in the atmosphere. 

Precision emission measurement with spectroscopy

As the global community intensifies its focus on reducing methane, this technology could play a crucial role in providing accurate and actionable information for scientists, industry leaders, and policymakers.

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(NIST: Gaithersburg, MD) — Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have upgraded a highly precise technology designed to monitor emissions of methane, a critical greenhouse gas, and other trace gases, even in harsh field conditions. Measuring methane emissions and pinpointing their source is an important step toward reducing them—the goal of the Global Methane Pledge recently signed by more than 150 nations at the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

“We had an early version of this system that we took out into the field, but if you look at the data, there’s lots of downtime when the system wasn’t functioning,” says Cossel. “We rebuilt the system to make it more temperature stable and improve the data collection process.”

Published: Wednesday, February 14, 2024 – 11:59