Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2021-230
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2021-230

  13 Oct 2021

13 Oct 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Estimating Oil Sands Emissions using Horizontal Path-Integrated Column Measurements

Timothy G. Pernini1, T. Scott Zaccheo1, Jeremy T. Dobler2, and Nathan Blume2 Timothy G. Pernini et al.
  • 1Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc, Lexington, Massachusetts, 02421, USA
  • 2Spectral Sensor Solutions, LLC, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 46818, USA

Abstract. Improved technologies and approaches to reliably measure and quantify fugitive greenhouse gas emissions from oil sands operations are needed to accurately assess emissions and develop mitigation strategies that minimize the cost-impact of future production. While several methods have been explored, the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of emissions from oil sand mines and tailings ponds suggests an ideal approach would continuously sample an area of interest with spatial and temporal resolution high enough to identify and apportion emissions to specific areas/locations within the measurement footprint. In this work we demonstrate a novel approach to estimating greenhouse gas emissions from oil sands tailings ponds and open-pit mines. The approach utilizes the GreenLITE™ gas concentration measurement system, which employs a laser absorption spectroscopy-based, open-path, integrated column measurement in conjunction with an inverse dispersion model to estimate methane (CH4) emission rates from an oil sands facility located in the Athabasca region of Alberta, Canada. The system was deployed for extended periods of time in the summer of 2019 and spring of 2020. CH4 emissions from a tailings pond were estimated to be 7.2 t/day for Jul–Oct 2019, and 5.1 t/day for Mar–Jul 2020. CH4 emissions from an open-pit mine were estimated to be 24.6 t/day for Sep–Oct 2019. Descriptions of the measurement system, measurement campaigns, emission retrieval scheme, and emission results are provided.

Timothy G. Pernini et al.

Status: open (until 17 Nov 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Timothy G. Pernini et al.

Timothy G. Pernini et al.

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Short summary
We demonstrate a novel approach to estimating emissions from oil sands operations that utilizes the GreenLITE™ gas concentration measurement system and an atmospheric model. While deployed at a facility in the Athabasca region of Alberta, Canada, CH4 emissions from a tailings pond were estimated to be 7.2 t/day for Jul–Oct 2019, and 5.1 t/day for Mar–Jul 2020. CH4 emissions from an open-pit mine were estimated to be 24.6 t/day for Sep–Oct 2019.