DOE to award up to $35M for technologies that reduce methane emissions

Published on April 12, 2021 by Dave Kovaleski

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $35 million to develop technologies to reduce methane emissions in the oil, gas, and coal industries.

This funding opportunity will support projects that can be replicated easily and commercialized quickly. The goal of the initiative is to reduce methane accumulation in the atmosphere and mitigate the impact of climate change. It is part of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program “Reducing Emissions of Methane Every Day of the Year,” or REMEDY program.

“Methane is the second-largest source of greenhouse gases, many times more potent than carbon dioxide—that’s why it’s crucial we develop solutions to decrease these emissions at their source,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said. “The REMEDY program will help us support the Biden Administration’s mission to tackle climate change head-on, create good-paying jobs, and deliver cleaner, fresher air for American communities.”

Methane is emitted from natural gas, coal, and crude oil. It makes up nearly 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions every year, according to the Energy Information Administration. The energy sector is one of the largest sources of U.S. methane emissions.

The REMEDY program will address three target methane production sources in the oil, gas, and coal value chain. One is exhaust from natural gas-fired lean-burn engines used to drive compressors, generate electricity, and increasingly repower ships. Another is from flares required for the safe operation of oil and gas facilities. The third is from coal mine ventilation air methane (VAM) exhausted from operating underground mines. It will directly address the more than 50,000 engines, 300,000 flares, and 250 mine shafts producing methane emissions.

“We don’t have to choose between climate, jobs, energy, and security if we can invent the best greenhouse gas-reducing technologies. Methane reduction is a critical priority for shale regions like western Pennsylvania and will be a strategic advantage for the United States. I will continue to support ARPA-E in taking on this challenge,” U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA) said.

The DOE is seeking highly replicable technologies to decrease methane emissions across the oil, gas, and coal energy generation industries. They should also directly address challenges related to the commercialization of the technologies themselves.