New catalyst to reduce greenhouse gases

A research team at the University of Alberta has developed an economically viable method to halve methane emissions in Alberta. Chemical engineer Dr. Robert Hayes believes his innovative catalytic combustion application, which turns methane into carbon dioxide, will reduce the environmental impact of the oil industry and help Canada meet its protocol commitments. Kyoto.

Methane is a greenhouse gas 21 times more efficient than carbon dioxide. Today, it is estimated that carbon dioxide contributes 64% of greenhouse gas emissions, with methane contributing 19%. However, given the potential of methane in terms of global warming, converting methane to carbon dioxide would significantly limit greenhouse gas emissions in Alberta. Currently, 50% of the methane released into the atmosphere in Alberta comes from the production of gas and oil.
According to Dr. Hayes, whose article appeared recently in the journal Chemical Engineering Science, this method could also prove financially attractive for the petroleum industry. All oil tanks contain dissolved natural gas. For small oil or gas installations, it is not always cost effective to capture this gas. It is then customary to let it escape into the atmosphere or to burn it with torches. The latter method, however, has the drawback of releasing harmful combustion products. Hayes' new combustion method would encourage the collection and use of the methane or natural gas that is usually wasted.

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contacts:
- Dr. Robert Hayes' University of Alberta website:
http://www.ualberta.ca/~hayes/
- The U of A Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering website:
http://www.uofaweb.ualberta.ca/cme/index.cfm
Sources: University of Alberta Express News, 17 / 12 / 2004
Editor: Delphine Dupre VANCOUVER,
attache-scientifique@consulfrance-vancouver.org

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