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Cost Effective Real-Time Flare Gas Characterization for Optimizing Methane Destruction Efficiency

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0023927
Agency Tracking Number: 0000274675
Amount: $249,258.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: C56-27a
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0002903
Solicitation Year: 2023
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-07-10
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-04-09
Small Business Information
6322 34th UNIT B
Seattle, WA 98126
United States
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Eddie Kwon
 (503) 267-7556
Business Contact
 Eddie Kwon
Phone: (503) 267-7556
Research Institution

The oil and gas industry relies on flaring to reduce the venting of methane into our atmosphere. Currently, without a cost-effective method to capture and utilize these gases, flaring is the most environmentally friendly method for abating greenhouse gasses. When operated properly, flares are assumed to be 98% efficient at burning methane. Recent studies have shown that in reality, flaring operations only destroy around 91% of methane. Of the methane that escapes this process, unlit flares are responsible for half and poor efficiency is responsible for the other half. In 2020 alone, an estimated 5.8 billion cubic meters of methane escaped into our atmosphere because of unlit flares. This is the greenhouse gas equivalent of 1.5 million cars on the road. The most common reason for poor combustion efficiency is inaccurate operations due to fluctuations in the waste gas composition. The ability to make real-time characterization of the upstream waste gas can provide valuable information which can be used to optimize the destruction efficiency of the flare. Furthermore, such a sensor can be a key enabling technology for new methods of capturing, storing, and utilizing waste gas and therefore reduce gas flaring altogether. This project aims to develop a high performance, reliable, and cost-effective real-time gas characterization sensor. The sensor is expected to provide operators with key combustion characteristics which to optimize flare operation. Furthermore, the sensor has the potential to be incorporated in a more advance control scheme allowing for complete automation of the flare operation. This same sensor technology can also be used in conjunction with existing and developing waste gas capture/utilization technologies to selectively route high value and low value waste gases through their process. This can allow for smaller, more efficient, and effective capture and utilization systems which may increase their economic viability. Narion has developed a novel technique that make electrical properties of a flame which provide key combustion characteristics. In Phase I, Narion will leverage this technique to develop a gas characterization sensor to be used in both upstream flare gas characterization and increasing the value proposition for waste gas capture technologies. Testing and validation of the sensor will be performed with a broad range of surrogate waste gasses that encompass real life compositional variations. Commercial adoption of this product will result in a product solution that is both cost effective and easy to implement broadly. This technology will not only a significantly reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions from poorly performing flaring operations but also increase the value proposition for waste gas capture technologies.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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