New WVU study examines natural gas vehicle emissions - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

New WVU study to examine natural gas vehicle emissions

Posted: Updated:
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • WVU Students Honor Slain Journalists With Vigil

    WVU Students Honor Slain Journalists With Vigil

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 1:30 PM EDT2014-09-16 17:30:49 GMT
    The militant group ISIS has beheaded four Western hostages, two from the United States and two from Britain. Monday night, WVU's Muslim Association held a vigil for one of the murdered American journalist.
    The militant group ISIS has beheaded four Western hostages, two from the United States and two from Britain. Monday night, WVU's Muslim Association held a vigil for one of the murdered American journalist.
  • West Virginia University Children's Hospital Breaks Ground on New Expansion

    West Virginia University Children's Hospital Breaks Ground on New Expansion

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 10:48 AM EDT2014-09-16 14:48:24 GMT
    Monday marked the new beginning for the West Virginia University Children's Hospital. The hospital is expanding its walls to meet the growing needs of the community.
    Monday marked the new beginning for the West Virginia University Children's Hospital. The hospital is expanding its walls to meet the growing needs of the community.
  • Marion County Residents Gather To Meet The Candidates

    Marion County Residents Gather To Meet The Candidates

    Monday, September 15 2014 11:45 PM EDT2014-09-16 03:45:34 GMT
    Meet The Candidate ForumMeet The Candidate Forum
    Marion County residents were able to meet the candidates Monday night and get to hear from Fairmont City Council.
    Marion County residents were able to meet the candidates Monday night and get to hear from Fairmont City Council.

The Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions at West Virginia University announced a new study that aims to determine fugitive emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, associated with routine operation of natural gas fleet vehicles fueled by compressed or liquefied natural gas.

Natural gas powered vehicles are expected to play an increasing role in meeting future transportation needs. This study will measure methane leaks that occur at various stages in the refueling and operations of heavy duty natural gas vehicles to provide scientific insights given the projections of industry growth.

Natural gas is a cleaner-burning fossil fuel that consists mostly of methane. Natural gas vehicles have the potential to produce fewer greenhouse emissions than diesel fuel if methane leaks are kept low. Uncombusted natural gas, when released into the atmosphere, can accelerate climate change due to the potency of methane.

Environmental Defense Fund is collaborating with academic and industry stakeholders on numerous scientific studies to characterize methane emissions from the production and delivery of natural gas to end users. This comprehensive research series will provide empirical methane data collected at various points across the natural gas supply chain. Results of the first study focused on production will be released in the coming months.

EDF, along with industry and research organizations, is sponsoring this new project led by CAFEE to better understand methane leakage associated with natural gas vehicles and fueling stations. Other sponsors include the American Gas Association, International Council on Clean Transportation, PepsiCo, Shell, Volvo Group, Waste Management, Cummins Westport and Westport Innovations. Sponsors are providing access to vehicles or facilities, and a number of other industry participants are contributing equipment for testing.

The study will directly measure methane emissions at CNG and LNGrefueling sites and maintenance facilities that result from the operation of natural gas powered heavy duty vehicles. Final results are expected to be released in a peer-reviewed journal late 2013 or early 2014 and to assist industry in developing improvements to fueling operations and identifying best practices for minimizing leakage.

"CAFEE has a 24-year history of advanced energy research with rapid delivery of data and research products," said Nigel Clark, George Berry Chair of Engineering at WVU and principal investigator on the project. "This is right in CAFEE's wheelhouse. Our faculty, students and research staff have conducted numerous prior studies involving natural gas engines and vehicles, heavy-duty emissions inventory and modeling in the environmental and transportation sectors."

Vehicles to be tested include transit buses, tractor-trailers and vocational vehicle fleets with access to private and public fueling sites. Measurements gathered during evaluations associated with this program will be combined with available vehicle exhaust emissions data to provide a statistically valid view of a modern natural gas fleet.

CAFEE researchers will also gather data on methane emissions from fueling stations and maintenance facilities through a combination of leak detections, leak measurements, operational and maintenance procedure review, and equipment audits, which will all be used to develop a consolidated database and model.

To assist them in their methane quantification efforts, the researchers constructed a mobile dilution sampling system. A scientific advisory panel composed of professors and experts in the fields relevant to the study will also serve as independent advisors, charged with reviewing the appropriateness of the methodologies, results and their statistical methods.