University of Adelaide researchers in Australia are developing a new type of laser system that will monitor methane levels across large areas in order to monitor emissions of the greenhouse gas. The system has the potential to detect methane leaks from long-distance underground gas pipelines and gas fields, including coal seam gas extraction operations, and to measure methane emissions from animal production, the university said. “We hope to accurately measure methane concentrations up to a distance of 5 kilometers,” said project leader David Ottaway, senior lecturer in the university’s School of Chemistry and Physics. “This will give us an ability to map methane over an area as large as 25 square kilometers in a very short time. At the moment current technology only allows detection at a single point source as it blows past the detector.”
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