J11.3 Urban natural gas leaks

Thursday, 31 May 2012: 2:15 PM
Press Room (Omni Parker House)
Nathan Glen Phillips, Boston University, Boston, MA; and R. Ackley and E. Crosson

Using a mobile methane analyzer, we detected approximately 3,900 leaks from Boston's natural gas distribution system. These leaks elevated surface methane concentrations by up to 15 times background levels. We observed urban tree dieback and mortality associated with gas in the root zone. These leaks contribute toward greenhouse warming potential and $40 million per year in lost and unaccounted gas in Massachusetts. In this presentation we present our leak maps from Boston, discuss our preliminary assessment of its potential environmental, economic and energy impacts, and describe current and ongoing research to quantify those impacts.
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