Combustion Slip (Methane Slip)
In April 2023 the Prabhu Energy Labs team spent time with Canada's oil and gas leadership working on methane emissions reduction. Prabhu Energy Labs was invited to speak at the Methane Leadership Summit by Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada (PTAC), the nonprofit industry group that hosted the event along with the Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN).
From the very first day of the event, “methane slip” was highlighted repeatedly as a primary challenge for oil and gas operators, and a primary concern for Canadian federal and provincial regulators.
According to January 2023 research from Professor Matthew Johnson of Carleton University, more than 50% of methane emissions from oil and gas facilities in British Columbia can be attributed to combustion slip (AKA “methane slip”), uncombusted fuel escaping from the compressors driven by internal combustion engines. These large engine and compressor systems are critical infrastructure, running 24x7x365 to keep upstream and midstream operations moving natural gas and oil from the well to gathering and processing facilities and through pipeline networks.
Engine and engine emissions reduction expert Professor Dan Olsen of Colorado State University's Engine and Energy Conversion Lab presented the latest research on combustion slip and the mechanisms to mitigate methane slippage. According to Professor Olsen, the two main sources of methane slip are the engine crankshaft and exhaust. While there are several promising approaches in development to eliminate emissions from the crankshaft, the bulk of emissions escape from the exhaust. Exhaust emissions after treatment with catalysts have not proven successful. Engine exhaust emissions from lean-burn gas engines in particular remains a challenge for existing technologies.
Edan Prabhu joined Professor Olsen on stage to share Prabhu Energy Labs' novel approach to mitigate gas engine combustion slip, including methane. He illustrated how a new type of heat exchanger can fully oxidize exhaust emissions using the energy of the methane in the engine exhaust to drive the reaction - without the need for a catalyst.
In March 2023, Prabhu Energy Labs won a US$1M grant award from the US Department of Energy, US$300,000 award from the California Energy Commission's CalTestBed program and a CA$225,000 grant award from the private Canadian Natural Gas Innovation Fund to develop the Oxiperator for methane slip reduction from lean-burn gas engines.