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Energy Seminar: Testing Remote Sensing Aerial and Satellite Methane Detection Capabilities, Sahar El Abbadi

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Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, with anthropogenic emissions serving as a key contributor to climate change. In the oil and gas sector, “super-emitters” are a relatively small number of methane sources that are disproportionately responsible for a large fraction of total methane emissions. However, advances in remote sensing technologies are enabling airplanes and satellites to rapidly identify and quantify these large emitters, changing our understanding of the overall methane budget and advancing mitigation efforts. In Fall 2022, Stanford conducted a 2-month field campaign to test five airplanes and nine satellites used for detecting methane. We performed over 700 single-blind controlled releases to evaluate to evaluate their detection and quantification capabilities. In this talk, I will share results of aircraft and satellite performance, and discuss implications for methane mitigation efforts.


Dr. Sahar El Abbadi (she/her) is a researcher at Stanford University, focused on mitigating methane emissions through improving methane detection technology and incentivizing methane capture. She led the recent Stanford Controlled Releases field campaign, spending 2-months in the Arizona desert releasing methane while airplanes and satellites passed overhead. Sahar completed her PhD at Stanford University in Civil & Environmental Engineering, investigating how methane-consuming bacteria (methanotrophs) can be used to create high-value products, thus incentivizing capture of anthropogenic methane from landfills, wastewater treatment plants, and the oil and gas sector. Alongside the field studies discussed in this talk, Sahar continues laboratory and modeling research to determine what role methanotrophs can play in the future of methane mitigation.

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