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PhD Studentship: Developing New Techniques to Identify Fugitive Methane Emissions and Their Sources

Cranfield University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Cranfield
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: £18,000 bursary (tax free) plus fees
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 1st December 2022
Closes: 1st March 2023
Reference: SWEE0206

Methane is a major greenhouse gas and so contributes to climate change. Cranfield and SLB are offering an iCASE PhD studentship, developing practical methods to monitor methane emissions from point source emissions such as oil and gas facilities. The proposed research will link observations of methane and other data streams from client facilities with appropriate atmospheric modelling techniques, to identify and estimate the size and location of leaks within site boundaries. This studentship will help SLB and its present & future clients meet their net-zero greenhouse gas emission objectives.

The 2021 IPCC assessment report on climate change and the US-EU led Global Methane Pledge highlight the contribution of methane to the current global atmospheric warming trend. The IPCC report estimates that 0.5ºC of the current 1.1ºC temperature rise is attributable to this potent greenhouse gas. Sources of methane include agriculture, landfill, water treatment and oil & gas facilities. To assist SLB and its clients meet their net-zero greenhouse gas emission objectives, there is a need for continuous monitoring at well construction and production facilities, and mitigation of vented and fugitive methane emissions. In collaboration with the newly-launched Emissions Management business line, this project will contribute to SLB’s net zero by 2050 roadmap, covering scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions, based on the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard.
The proposed research will link observations of methane and other data streams from client facilities with appropriate atmospheric modelling techniques, to identify, then estimate size and location of leaks within site boundaries.

The key research objectives include:

1. Assess the challenges involved in identifying methane leaks at oil and gas installations and enabling timely remedial action.

  1. Develop modelling approaches suited to use the pseudo-continuous time-series methane concentration data to arrive at meaningful emission estimates.

    3. Investigate if the ground-based emissions estimates from oil and gas facilities can be improved by combination with other sensing approaches, such as from airborne, satellite platforms and other on-site data sources.

    4. Develop edge-based machine-learning techniques to provide near-instantaneous emission estimates.

    5. Determine the suitability of the technology to scaling from individual facilities up to basin-wide levels and for its applicability in non-oilfield applications such as biogas, water treatment, agriculture & LNG shipping.

    Successful development of a technique for rapid identification of emissions leading to timely mitigation actions will be of great value in the efforts to reduce CH4 emissions including those of SLB’s clients, both present and future.

At a glance

  • deadline: open ended
  • Start date: ASAP, and definitely before 1 October 2023
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Eligibility: UK
  • Reference number SWEE0206

Supervisor

Supervisors- 1st Supervisor: Prof Neil Harris
2nd supervisor: Dr Michelle Cain

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline.

Funding

Sponsored by EPSRC and SLB, this studentship will provide a bursary of up to £18,000 (tax free) plus fees for four years.

This studentship is open to UK students only.

How to apply

For further information please contact:
Dr Michelle Cain
Michelle.Cain@cranfield.ac.uk 
Or  studyenvironment@cranfield.ac.uk 

If you are eligible to apply for the PhD, please complete the online PhD application form stating the reference No. SWEE0206

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