September 14, 2016


Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) announced $1,427,034.00 of federal funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) to develop cost-efficient and effective ways to mitigate methane emissions from natural gas pipelines and storage infrastructure. The research will also seek to improve the quantification of the sources, volumes, and rates of methane emissions. The grants are part of a new initiative by DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy that builds upon President Obama’s Climate Action Plan Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions.  
“A dramatic increase in natural gas production has transformed our nation’s energy sector and buoyed Texas’ economy over the last decade,” said Rep. Castro. “However, we must access and use this natural resource in an environmentally responsible manner in order to reap full advantage of this fuel.  Investing in technologies that private companies can use to mitigate and detect methane leaks from energy infrastructure is a prudent use of federal resources. I’m proud that Southwest Research Institute is helping lead the charge to modernize America’s energy infrastructure, reduce methane emissions, and clean up our natural gas use.”  
The DOE funding will go towards two different SwRI projects. One project received $629,517.00 to develop and demonstrate an optical-based methane leak detection system for midstream infrastructures. The other project received $797,517.00 to work with Next Seal AB and Williams Pipeline to develop a seal design for reciprocating compressor piston rods that mitigates the highest contributor to methane emissions from midstream machinery. The primary objective is to design, manufacture, and test a liquid seal in a full-scale setting to demonstrate the operability of the seal, verify the performance of components, and demonstrate the potential for producing a seal that reduces methane emissions with minimal wear to the seal.
“SwRI has worked with the oil and gas industry for over 50 years to make the production and transportation of hydrocarbons more efficient and more environmentally friendly,” said SwRI President Adam L. Hamilton, P.E. “These two new DOE projects will allow SwRI to develop novel technology that will help the industry to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
The two SwRI initiatives are part of the group of projects that represent the start of DOE’s Methane Emissions Mitigation from Midstream Infrastructure research program.