The cloud-hosted platform will use advanced detection methods, including ground-level sensing technology, to track and prioritise data associated with leaks
US-based Duke Energy has partnered with technology firms Accenture and Microsoft to develop a new technology platform to monitor methane emissions from its natural gas distribution systems.
By providing near-real-time data collection, the platform is expected to help Duke Energy’s field response teams to quickly find and repair methane leaks.
The cloud-hosted platform will use advanced detection methods such as satellites, fixed-wing aircraft and ground-level sensing technology to track and prioritise data associated with leaks.
As part of the partnership, the three companies will implement monthly satellite captures in Greenville, South Carolina, starting this month. It will be carried out to enhance the technology to identify methane leaks on Duke Energy’s pipeline system.
Duke Energy expects to deploy its methane-monitoring platform by October 2021.
Currently, the company’s natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky.
According to the estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, methane accounts for nearly 10% of all US greenhouse gas emissions released annually.
Duke Energy natural gas senior vice president and chief operations said: “This platform will re-imagine how natural gas local distribution companies calculate methane emissions and perform leak surveys and improve the expediency in which leaks may be repaired, resulting in dramatically lower methane emissions.
“The current industry standard uses calculated data to report methane emissions, which leaves room for inaccuracies when it comes to actual methane levels.”
The Microsoft Azure-based methane emissions monitoring platform will be designed to handle a high volume of data from various sources.
In collaboration with Avanade, its joint venture with Microsoft, Accenture will apply its experience in analytics, artificial intelligence and cloud computing to support the development of the platform.
The new platform is expected to support Duke Energy’s efforts toward net-zero methane emissions in its natural gas business by 2030.
Accenture’s utilities practice managing director Mark Schuler said: “Our work with Duke Energy and Microsoft demonstrates how technology, innovation and artificial intelligence can help address sustainability challenges.
“Together, we can show others how to achieve their sustainability goals and make it an integral part of delivering value for all stakeholders, and not as one-off practices.”