We work with partners in the energy industry and government to measure and model emissions from a wide variety of sources, including coal-fired power plant stacks, oil and natural gas infrastructure, and soil, water, and snow surfaces in impacted environments. We work to incorporate the results of these studies into emissions inventories and air quality models to determine the impact of emissions on air quality. We also work with the energy industry to reduce pollutant emissions.
Emissions Measurement & Inventory Development
A host of recent studies have shown official estimates of oil and gas emissions are low, and sources excluded from or underreported in current emissions inventories may be to blame. Some examples of our emissions characterization work include:
- Component-level methane emissions measurements at compressor stations and natural gas storage facilities around the nation using a custom-built high-flow system.
- Comprehensive characterization of emissions of organic compounds from produced water ponds in the Rocky Mountain region.
- Quantification of loss of natural gas through the soil and into the atmosphere from subsurface wellbore leaks.
- Measurement of speciated organic compound emissions (70+ hydrocarbons, alcohols, and carbonyls) from oil and gas industry equipment.
- Flux measurements at the snow-atmosphere interface to understand how organic compounds emitted by the oil and gas industry are processed in the snowpack.
Energy Policy Studies
Fossil fuel extraction is an important component of national energy independence and underpins the Uintah Basin’s economy. USU’s Energy Policy Studies Initiative studies the impact of policy on the energy industry. Our publication, "The Regulatory Road Map for Oil and Gas Exploration, Development, and Production in Utah," informs stakeholders who develop the state’s vast energy resources.
We also worked with the U.S. Department of Defense, the Utah Office of Energy, and other partners to determine how renewable energy development in Utah can proceed while minimizing impacts to defense operations. Read that report.