Methane Detectors Challenge

Catalyzing next generation air emissions monitors to tackle methane pollution

Environmental Defense Fund and seven oil and natural gas companies are challenging technology developers and engineers to design cutting-edge, new methane monitors that can help the oil and gas industry better detect, and ultimately reduce, methane emissions.

Methane is a pressing climate issue with enormous environmental upside when reduced. In many cases, there are also economic advantages for oil and gas companies to capture gas for sales that is otherwise leaked. Advancing technologies that make it easier for companies to continuously detect methane leaks is the goal. 

Learn more about the five selected finalists in the Methane Detectors Challenge.

What do innovators get from participating?

  1. Be first on the scene in an emerging market. Technologies competing in the Challenge will be front and center with industry leaders who are looking for cost-effective solutions that will help them reduce leaks and related risks.
  2. Show expertise in your field. Solving this Challenge won't be easy. It will take a robust and creative technical approach, and the most successful developers will earn significant credibility with academic, environmental, industry and technology leaders.
  3. Tackle a global issue of importance. More than one-third of today's human-caused global warming comes from highly potent, short-lived climate pollutants that include methane, and oil and gas activities are the largest source of these emissions in the U.S. Your technology could have a major impact in helping industry quickly identify and repair methane leaks at any number of the more than 700,000 wells it operates around the country, with international opportunities emerging. 

Join the EDF Methane Detectors Challenge LinkedIn group now to connect with other innovators and receive updates on the Challenge.

State of the Challenge

EDF and its partners collaboratively selected five applicants whose technologies are being tested by Southwest Research Institute, one of the nation's largest and most well-established, independent applied research organizations. The selection panel will review the lab tests to assess which technologies meet the criteria of the Challenge and may move forward to an additional round of testing.

The selection panel is being advised by independent experts from Harvard University and the University of Houston, Clean Air Task Force, in addition to others from the research and technology communities. Subsequently, in 2015, it is expected that the top performing technologies through both rounds of testing will be selected for international industry pilot purchases and trial deployments.

Watch this page for updates on the project as it progresses.

Why we're doing this

We're spearheading this effort — in collaboration with Shell, Anadarko, Apache Corporation, BG Group, Hess Corporation, Noble Energy and Southwestern Energy — to catalyze new technology for continuous detection of methane.

Anadarko prides itself on being a leader in the control and reduction of emissions wherever we operate. This requires we evaluate and implement proven methods of controlling and measuring emissions, as we continuously strive to improve our operational performance through sound science and technology. To that end, the diverse technologies being tested through the Methane Detectors Challenge hold real promise, and we look forward to the next phase of this process.

David McBride, Vice President, Health Safety and Environment, Anadarko