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Harrisburg University Assistant Professor and faculty associate at HU’s Center for Environment, Energy, and Economy, Arvind Ravikumar, and colleagues have publicly released the latest version of the FEAST simulation tool to help regulatory agencies and the oil and gas industry evaluate the costs and benefits of new technologies such as drones, planes, and satellites in reducing methane emissions.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential that is 84 times that of carbon dioxide over 20 years. Although natural gas is a cleaner burning fuel than coal, methane leaks from the natural gas supply chain threaten to erode these benefits.

Recently, many start-up companies are developing new sensors and technologies that promise faster and cheaper methane leak detection. To approve these technologies as part of methane policies, regulators need evidence that these technologies can achieve equivalent emissions reductions compared to existing methods.

The Fugitive Emissions Abatement Simulation Tool or FEAST is an open-source model that combines engineering and economics to study the effectiveness of these new technologies in reducing methane emissions.

The public release of the FEAST model is intended to gather feedback from user communities in the industry, government, and academia with the potential to become a regulatory standard in the future. More information on the software and the codebase can be found the FEAST homepage. Interested users can also sign-up to receive regular updates as new functionality is added to FEAST.

The development of FEAST is part of a larger ‘Path to Equivalency’ effort – a collaboration between Harrisburg University, Colorado State University’s Energy Institute, and the University of Texas at Austin – that aims to develop models and simulation tools to evaluate and deploy new technologies for addressing methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.

Questions on FEAST implementation or requests for new functionality should be directed to:

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