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New Mexico researchers get funds for methane leak detection

January 4, 2020 GMT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Researchers at the University of New Mexico will share in millions of dollars being doled out by the U.S. Energy Department for projects aimed at improving natural gas infrastructure by pinpointing leaks and reducing emissions.

In all, the federal agency awarded nearly $25 million for 16 cost-sharing projects across the country.

The New Mexico team is developing electrochemical sensors that would be capable of distinguishing pipeline methane emissions from other sources such as agriculture or wetlands. The goal would be to create low-cost, widely deployable sensors to help the oil and natural gas industry monitor pipelines for leaks.

The research comes as the state of New Mexico embarks on crafting new rules to rein in emissions from the industry as activity in the Permian Basin continues to break records.