Oil and gas well site emissions have been significantly reduced in McKenzie County thanks to gas capture technology, according to the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR). A demonstration project showcasing the innovation was conducted from September through mid-November 2015.
The demonstration project was part of the Environmentally Friendly Drilling (EFD) program managed by the Houston Advance Research Center (HARC). Funding came from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (REPSEA) program and HARC.
ElectraTherm Inc. of Reno, Nevada demonstrated its waste heat-to-power technology while the test was run on five free-flowing oil and gas wells at a Hess Corp. site. One of the company’s distributors, Gulf Coast Green Energy (GCGE), based in Bay City, Texas, was responsible for installing and operating the test equipment. Texas A&M IRNR researchers compared emissions from ElectraTherm’s Power+ boiler system with open flaring emissions at the site in September, using both raw and fuel gas.
The Texas A&M IRNR report noted that carbon monoxide emissions were lowered by 89 percent, while nitrogen oxide was cut by 48 percent. Additionally, volatile organic compounds were almost completely eliminated with a reduction of about 93 percent. One of the report’s main findings was that the the Power+ boiler was much less harmful to the environment than conventional methods and that the new system also cut down on wasted raw or fuel gas.
“It is important to note that the emissions from the Power+ boiler are lower (comparatively less harmful to the environment) and would provide the added utility of power generated for use from the raw gas or fuel gas which would otherwise be wasted,” the report concluded.
“We think that’s pretty significant,” Loy Sneary, GCGE CEO told The Bakken Magazine. “We were real impressed with these numbers,” adding: “I know that EPA is really looking hard at emissions for sites. Down here in Texas, they’ve been flying drones over some of the well pads in the Eagle Ford and measuring emissions.”
Sneary also believes that oil industry drillers will consider GCGE as an option to meet the EPA’s growing concerns on emissions.
“Our emissions are far below turbines and reciprocating engines,” he explained. “As companies start digging in and doing their research and exploring the options, I think we’re going to be one of the options they’re going to consider.”
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