Satellite system can pinpoint methane leaks anywhere on the planet


Spotted: A significant proportion of methane emissions come from a small number of high emitting leaks at fossil fuel operations. However, identifying specific sources using existing monitoring methods is difficult and expensive. Now, GHGSat has developed satellites specifically designed to look for and monitor facility-level emissions. The company combines its satellite with its own aircraft and analytics to measure and detect methane emissions from facilities, anywhere in the world.

GHGSat launched its first high-resolution commercial satellite “Iris” in September of 2020, followed in 2021 by a second satellite, “Hugo”. The satellites are equipped with state-of-the-art sensors and imaging spectrometers, that can detect methane emissions at rates 100 times smaller than other satellites, and can pinpoint emissions sources with 100 times higher precision than other commercial satellites.

Aggregating data from its satellites and other sources allows the company to offer a range of services, including real-time monitoring of facilities anywhere in the world; leak-risk assessment; hotspot detection; and predictive analysis, and can identify super-emitters without the need for on-site equipment. On top of this, GHGSat is now offering a free online tool, called PULSE, that shows monthly averaged methane concentrations in the atmosphere on a 2km x 2km grid worldwide.

More than a commercial company, GHGSat also publishes scientific papers on the use of remote sensing of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) and other trace emissions. The company told Springwise that “Overall by improving emission information, industries will be able to better measure, control, and ultimately reduce the emissions of GHGS and ultimately help fight against the threat of climate change.”

The commercial satellite industry is growing by leaps and bounds – as are the number of uses for this expanding technology. Springwise has covered many recent developments in this space, including a wooden satellite designed to create less space debris and a mini-satellite that tracks the health of beehives.

Written By: Lisa Magloff

Explore more: Computing & Tech Innovations | Sustainability Innovations



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