Drone-Mounted NASA/JPL Optical Technology Maps Canadian Greenhouse Gas Emissions

-Launch of GHGMap BC-based environmental innovation Sept. 28th at Vancouver Convention Centre-

Images are in a special Flickr folder

Vancouver, BC — September 28th, 2017 — Geoscience BC is launching its groundbreaking greenhouse gas (GHGMap) project which uses a miniature, cutting-edge optical instrument developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) mounted on a drone to detect and analyse aerial greenhouse gas emissions.

This BC-based innovation will provide the first Canadian GHG inventory based on real-time, remote data collection, dramatically improving the speed, accuracy, safety and cost of measuring GHG emissions. The launch and demonstration of GHGMap takes place at 4:30pm on Thursday, Sept. 28th outside the annual UBCM (Union of British Columbia Municipalities) Convention.

"Natural and human releases of greenhouse gases, such as methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, to the atmosphere present real concerns for climate change and air quality. Assessing and reducing these emissions requires reliable, uncomplicated measurements," says Dr. Michael Whiticar, GHGMap Project Lead. "Our new mini-optical instrument mounted on a small drone allows us to quickly and effectively make these measurements on regional and local scales in a completely novel approach. We believe that this new way of doing things will make a substantial difference."

The Government of Canada has demonstrated their support to this research which demonstrates BC's role in maintaining Canada's reputation as leader in clean resource development and GHG reduction, innovation and technology.

"Our government believes in using evidence-based decision making to create policies that benefit all Canadians" said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada. "This includes our approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We are proud to support made-in-Canada solutions that bolster industry, create highly skilled jobs and protect our environment. Congratulations to Geoscience BC for its efforts to make Canada a global leader in innovation and the fight against climate change."

"Independent scientific data is essential in making informed decisions relating to natural resource development," states Carlos Salas, Geoscience BC Vice President of Energy. "We are demonstrating how the technology works and how it will be used to map greenhouse gas emissions in northeast British Columbia and beyond to help the resource sector, First Nations, governments and communities to make more informed resource management decisions. By bringing this technology to commercialization, GHGMap will also create new economic opportunities for western Canada."

As the technology is developed it will initially be used at gas production sites in northeast British Columbia before being rolled out to other parts of western Canada for a wide range of emission types. It is hoped that the launch will showcase the GHGMap project to community leaders from around the country and demonstrate how they can benefit from the technology.

About GHGMap

  • Accurately assesses true GHG emissions, rather than the models currently used for reporting
  • Meets the need to accurately and cost-effectively measure emissions of methane, ethane and carbon dioxide from sites that may be high sources of GHGs including wetlands, landfills, sewage treatment plants, agricultural feedlots, gas wells, infrastructure and pipelines, and dams.
  • Deploys laser spectrometer (OPLS) technology from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to measure critical GHGs at parts-per-billion levels.
  • The tiny, 400 g OPLS instrument is mounted and flown on a small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (sUAV or drone) to map GHG concentrations and distributions.
  • The GHGMap team includes Geoscience BC, Geochemical Analytic Services, InDro Robotics and NASA/JPL. They are also partnering with Optical Knowledge Systems to build an even more powerful next-generation optical system.

View GHGMap Project

About Geoscience BC
Geoscience BC is an independent, non-profit organization that generates earth science information in collaboration with First Nations, local communities, governments, academia and the resource sector. Our independent earth science enables informed resource management decisions. Geoscience BC gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Province of British Columbia.

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Jane Green
AJC Media Group INC