June 27, 2022

DOE Awards $35 Million for Technologies to Reduce Methane Emissions

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $35 million in funding for twelve projects focused on developing technologies to reduce methane emissions in the oil, gas, and coal industries. DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) Reducing Emissions of Methane Every Day of the Year (REMEDY) program was unveiled earlier this year for universities and private companies focused on dramatically reducing U.S. methane emissions. These projects will support President Biden’s U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan, announced at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), which seeks to reduce methane emissions and promote American innovation and manufacturing of new technologies to achieve climate goals.

“Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that is more than 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide and we must adopt technologies to dramatically reduce these emissions,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “By creating new technologies, we are working to mitigate climate change and minimize the cost of methane abatement.” 

The following teams selected for the REMEDY program will work to directly address the more than 50,000 engines, 300,000 flares, and 250 mine shafts that are producing methane emissions. 

Natural Gas Engines 

  • Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO) will develop hardware to redirect methane emissions to the engine’s turbocharger, reducing emissions and improving fuel efficiency. (Selection amount: $1,500,000)  
  • INNIO’s Waukesha Gas Engines (Waukesha, WI) will develop a new line of pistons fabricated with friction welding. The new pistons reduce the space for methane to “slip” past the combustion zone in the engine and can be installed as part of normal engine maintenance programs. (Selection amount: $2,230,693) 
  • MAHLE Powertrain (Plymouth, MI) will develop a catalytic system to oxidize methane in the exhaust gas of lean-burn natural gas fired engines. (Selection amount: $3,257,089) 
  • Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI) will demonstrate their Mixed Controlled Combustion (MCC) system which can be retrofitted into lean-burn engines. (Selection amount: $3,975,058) 
  • Texas A&M University (College Station, TX) will use plasma and advanced engine controls to reduce methane slip. The technology is targeting the large two-stroke engines used by gas pipeline companies. (Selection amount: $2,824,814) 

Flares 

  • Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (Lancaster, PA) will adapt their combustor design to ensure 99.5% methane destruction efficiency for the highly variable gas sent to flares. The combustors will be made of silicon carbide, which can withstand more than 2500 degrees Fahrenheit, using a new 3D printing process.  (Selection amount: $3,300,000) 
  • Cimarron Energy, Inc. (Houston, TX) proposes a hybrid flare design coupled with advanced controls to ensure 99.5% destruction efficiency for flares that handle both high- and low-pressure gas streams. (Selection amount: $1,000,000) 
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) will use additive manufacturing and machine learning to scale up their advanced burner.  The burner will be incorporated into a new flare system design that is robust to cross winds and low load conditions which can lead to poor methane destruction efficiency. (Selection amount: $2,881,762) 
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN) will use plasma-assisted combustion to enhance flare methane destruction efficiency. (Selection amount: $2,141,876) 

Methane from Coal Mine Shafts 

  • Johnson Matthey, Inc. (Wayne, PA) is developing new technology, which uses a noble metal catalyst to combust the dilute methane in coal mine ventilation systems. (Selection amount: $4,346,015) 
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA) is developing a low-cost copper-based catalyst for reducing methane emissions. (Selection amount: $2,020,903) 
  • Precision Combustion, Inc. (North Haven, CT) proposes an innovative modular system that promotes methane reaction and manages thermal loads in a novel reactor design. (Selection amount: $3,720,317) 

“I am proud of Colorado’s continued leadership to cut harmful methane emissions. That includes developing innovative technologies that prevent methane emissions leakage not only across the oil and gas supply chain, but also from natural gas vehicles,” said U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO). “Methane is harmful to our climate, environment, and our health. This investment will support critical efforts to advance innovative technology solutions to limit methane pollution, which will help boost our methane mitigation industry and protect our climate.”  

“This federal grant is another step toward an emission-free future and a cleaner and greener economy. These investments in greenhouse gas-reducing technologies tackle our climate crisis and create good paying clean energy jobs here in Connecticut. I am proud that PCI is receiving this federal grant—their commitment to developing cutting edge clean energy technology as well as their incredible team continue to be recognized,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). 

“The Department of Energy investments in Marquette University and INNIO-Waukesha Gas Engines will bolster Wisconsin’s cutting edge research and technological innovation capabilities to create good paying jobs in the clean energy economy. We appreciate the Biden administration’s recognition that Wisconsin is forging our country’s path into the clean energy future and in doing so, providing practical leadership on climate solutions,” said U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). 

“Methane is a 25 times more potent greenhouse gas compared to carbon dioxide. Its impact on the climate is devastating, and so I’m glad the Department of Energy is investing in Precision Combustion’s technology to reduce the release of methane from coal production. This kind of innovation moves us toward a cleaner future,” said U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT). 

“I applaud the innovators at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for securing this important REMEDY award and tackling the climate crisis head-on,” said U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA). “This project will indeed help remedy the immediate problem of climate-warming methane emissions by supporting technological ingenuity and by contributing actionable solutions to cut our country’s methane footprint.” 

“Climate change poses an existential threat and has already caused immeasurable environmental and economic damage to Michigan. Investing in R&D initiatives to lower methane emissions is one of the many ways we can develop the tools necessary to address this threat,” said U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI). “I applaud these grants that will support the important work being done in Michigan to reduce methane emissions and protect Michigan communities – making them even greater places to live, work and raise a family.” 

“Colorado is the leader in curbing methane emissions. This grant will help CSU develop innovative solutions that eliminate methane leaks and fight climate change,” said U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper (D-CO). 
 
“Precision Combustion continues to show what talented small businesses are capable of when they receive the right support,” said Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT 03). “As Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, I am proud to have helped secure this funding and am excited the Department of Energy has recognized Precision Combustion’s innovative proposal to eliminate the main source of coal mine methane. As we continue to fight the climate crisis, reducing methane pollution must remain a high priority. Investments in science like these are key to creating good-paying clean energy jobs and developing the technologies we need to combat global climate change.” 
 
“Central Texans deserve and need clean, abundant, sustainable, and safe domestically supplied sources of natural gas. I support research that will fund new methodologies and technology that will help get us closer to an abundance of reliable energy and that assists our domestic production of natural gas,” said U.S. Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX 17). 

“We need to get serious about combatting climate change and protecting public health – reducing methane emissions is a clear step forward,” said U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI 12). “Methane is 84 times more toxic than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period and is a serious threat to our environment, Michiganders, and people across the country. I’m grateful for the Biden-Harris Administration’s leadership in reducing toxic methane emissions in the oil, gas, and coal industries and look forward to seeing the University of Michigan’s innovative progress on their reduction technologies with the new REMEDY award federal funding.” 

“I’m excited to see this significant award from the DOE that recognizes the innovative spirit of the people and businesses in southeastern Pennsylvania. As we continue to advance ambitious policies to address climate change in Congress, this funding will help ensure commercial industries nationwide have the tools they need to contribute to the transition to a cleaner economy while protecting the health and safety of workers,” said U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA 6). 

“I am thrilled that MAHLE Powertrain will be the recipient of Department of Energy funds to develop a system that will reduce methane emissions”, said U.S. Representative Haley Stevens (D-MI 11). “Federal investments like this help keep SE Michigan competitive on the world stage and a leader in the fight against climate change. I look forward to seeing these incredible developments in action.” 

Funding for the REMEDY program, managed by ARPA-E, will be released in two stages spanning a total of three years. Stage 1 is planned to focus on lab-based tests confirming the operability of technical proposals, approaches, and system components. Stage 2 will expand the scale of testing and ideally include field tests. 
 
For more information on the projects listed above, read the detailed REMEDY project descriptions