AER research team contributes to Harvard-led study on natural gas leaks in Boston region

Thomas Nehrkorn
February 2, 2015

Scientists from AER's greenhouse gas (GHG) research team participated in a Harvard-led study ("Methane emissions from natural gas infrastructure and use in the urban region of Boston, Massachusetts") just published  in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The study found that about 2.7 percent of all natural gas delivered to the region was being lost to leaks from a range of  sources in the area, including homes, businesses, and electricity  generation facilities, substantially more than previously estimated  by state and federal authorities (1.1 percent).

Co-author Dr. Thomas Nehrkorn and contributors Dr. Jennifer Hegarty, Marikate Mountain, John Henderson, and the late Dr. Janusz Eluszkiewicz adapted, ran, and evaluated the results of the WRF-STILT transport model. The coupled WRF-STILT model is the linchpin of multiple GHG-related efforts worldwide and has been developed at AER over the past decade with support from NSF, NASA, NOAA, the intelligence community, and private industry. Among on-going applications of WRF-STILT are studies of methane emissions over the Arctic, and of carbon dioxide emissions over the Northeast corridor of the US.

Read the Harvard summary of the research study: "Boston’s natural gas infrastructure releases high levels of heat-trapping methane" in the Harvard Gazette.

Read The Boston Globe article about the research study: "Leaks in Boston area gas pipes exceed estimates" in The Boston Globe.

Read the research study, “Methane emissions from natural gas infrastructure and use in the urban region of Boston, Massachusetts”, published  in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Note: AER greenhouse gas research team. Thomas Nehrkorn (top left), John Henderson, Marikate Mountain (lower left), and Jennifer Hegarty.