A more sustainable way to energize the economy.


The growing global demand for energy calls for innovation and environmental transparency in energy exploration, production and delivery.

Natural gas, which is 95% methane (CH4), produces less CO2 per kWh of electricity than coal, but is a greenhouse gas many times more powerful. When it leaks from production or distribution infrastructure, it presents environmental and health risks. Accurate in-situor mobile methane analyses optimize efficiency and reduce environmental risks.

Research Applications

Fugitive emissions

Facilities for the production, storage and transportation of natural gas have the potential to emit large amounts of methane if proper containment is not maintained. Picarro has a variety of solutions.

  • Mobile measurements of transportation and distribution natural gas pipelines to determine the exact location of natural gas leaks, even those occurring underground
  • Fence line monitoring of natural gas infrastructure using mobile measurements from nearby roads. Continuous, on-site monitoring of natural gas production or storage facilities  

Mud logging and energy exploration

Geophysicists use carbon isotope ratio measurements of CH4 in the gases that emerge during drilling to better determine drilling direction and the locations for hydraulic fracturing. Picarro carbon isotope analyzers for methane can provide real-time isotope analysis for fast decision making.

Natural CH4 seeps

Picarro isotopic carbon for methane instruments can locate natural seeps of methane, which can indicate underground hydrocarbon resources. Natural seeps also pose an explosion hazard when CH4 enters buildings from below. Picarro’s carbon isotope analyzers can distinguish between atmospheric CH4 and other methane sources.

Carbon sequestration 

Sam Krevor, Sally Benson and co-workers from Stanford University have used a Picarro isotopic carbon analyzer to perform ongoing, real-time monitoring of leaks at sequestration sites. The carbon isotope ratio is used to distinguish between COleaking from the site and atmospheric COto positively identify containment issues. 

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