Nation's largest gas distribution utility selects high-tech airborne laser solution from Bridger Photonics to track down methane emissions


SoCalGas to use gas mapping LiDAR to reduce methane emissions. (Credit: marcinjozwiak from Pixabay)

In a bold leadership move to increase safety and reduce emissions, the nation’s largest gas distribution utility, Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), recently signed an agreement for $12 million with high-tech laser company, Bridger Photonics, Inc. (Bridger). The company is using Bridger’s Gas Mapping LiDAR to detect, pinpoint, and quantify methane emissions throughout SoCalGas’s distribution area. While the EPA estimates that the distribution sector accounts for 6% of the oil & gas industry emissions, methane, the primary constituent in natural gas, is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas on short time scales.

SoCalGas’s mission is to be the cleanest, safest, and most innovative energy company in America. The company currently serves over 21 million consumers with nearly 5.9 million meters of natural gas pipeline in more than 500 communities.

While SoCalGas already monitors its service area each year with foot patrols, consistently exceeding regulatory requirements, the company has chosen to proactively scan the remaining 80% each year using Gas Mapping LiDAR to further improve safety and reduce emissions. Helicopters equipped with LiDAR sensors will fly over SoCalGas’s distribution area to scan for methane emissions. After each day’s scan, Bridger will provide SoCalGas a digital map that shows gas plume images, pinpoints the leak source with GPS coordinates and quantifies the detected methane emissions. SoCalGas will use this information to dispatch appropriate crews straight to the emissions source to resolve the problem.

“Using this new technology is another way we are working to meet our commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2045,” said Gina Orozco, vice president of gas engineering and system integrity at SoCalGas. “This technology provides us with a critical early detection system that can help us mitigate leaks more quickly, while we also move to use more lower and zero-carbon fuels to increasingly decarbonize our pipeline system.”

Dr. Pete Roos, CEO and co-founder of Bridger adds, “We are so proud and excited to support SoCalGas’s leadership in improving safety and reducing emissions with Gas Mapping LiDAR.”

Source: Company Press Release