Category: Nathan Phillips

Gas leaks often caused by avoidable damage to utility lines

June 19th, 2015 in 2015, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Nathan Phillips, Newsmakers, Reuters 0 comments

phillipsReuters
Nathan Phillips, College of Arts & Sciences

Many petroleum accidents that can cost lives and cause injuries involve utilities, and the culprit is often homeowners or construction workers damaging or cutting lines, a U.S. study suggests…

Expert quote:

“People don’t realize that gardening or remodeling can cause a leak, and even the experts don’t always know where the pipelines are located.”

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The Conversation USA – Nathan Phillips

January 22nd, 2015 in 2015, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Nathan Phillips, Newsmakers, OP-EDs by BU Professors, The Conversation US 0 comments

Will Obama's 'fugitive methane' plan reduce or increase our dependence on natural gas?

By Nathan Phillips, Boston University

Like many Americans concerned with climate change and energy security, I reacted with high hopes to the President Obama’s proposal to reduce leaks of methane gas from oil and gas drilling. But on closer reading, the plan has me more worried than optimistic about the role of natural gas in our climate and energy future.

I’m probably a little more attuned to this topic than most: “methane leaks” is a term I added to my Google news feed a few years ago while researching and publishing studies that mapped over three thousand natural gas leaks in Boston and over six thousand in Washington, DC.

Methane, the primary component of natural gas, escapes into the atmosphere at wells and various points along the gas distribution network. A potent greenhouse gas, methane has 34 times the heat-trapping potential of carbon dioxide over a 100-year period.

At first glance, President Obama’s proposal looks impressive: the goal is to reduce the national methane leak rate 40% to 45% from 2012 levels by 2025. And because my colleagues and I developed new methods to detect and map leaks very precisely, I am confident we have the technology to find and fix methane leaks across the entire natural gas process chain, from hydraulic fracturing well pads to the pipelines running under our streets and sidewalks.

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Leaking city gas pipes pose climate hazard

December 16th, 2014 in 2014, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Nathan Phillips, Newsmakers, NPR 0 comments

phillipsNPR StateImpact
Nathan Phillips, College of Arts & Sciences

Philadelphia has some of the leakiest natural gas distribution pipes in the nation…

Expert quote:

“The gas leaks invade the soils and the root systems creating anoxic conditions which probably starve the roots of oxygen and the roots need oxygen in order to function. Until you see it mapped out, you don’t understand the extent of the problem. So the novelty of our project really was the map to show the problem, not to discover the problem. The problem has been known.”

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The city is an ecosystem, pipes and all

November 8th, 2014 in 2014, Boston Globe, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Lucy Hutyra, Nathan Phillips, Newsmakers, Pamela Templer, RESEARCH @ BU 0 comments

Boston Globe (subscription required)
Lucy Hutyra, College of Arts & Sciences
Pamela Templer, College of Arts & Sciences
Nathan Phillips, College of Arts & Sciences

Is a tree trying to survive in the city better off than a tree growing in the forest? The obvious answer would seem to be “no”: City trees face pollution, poor soil, and a root system disrupted by asphalt and pipes…

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Gas firms sign contracts to use Kinder Morgan pipeline

August 6th, 2014 in 2014, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Lowell Sun, Nathan Phillips, Newsmakers 0 comments

phillipsLowell Sun
Nathan Phillips, College of Arts & Sciences

The company proposing a natural-gas pipeline across Massachusetts is one step closer to making that pipe dream a reality, securing a first round of commitments from local and regional gas companies that would use the pipeline for transport…

Expert quote:

“When the rationale is put there that this is for the domestic market and the local service areas, you’ve got to take that with a grain of salt. Companies are looking to make a profit. That’s what companies and corporations do.”

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Google maps methane leaks

July 18th, 2014 in 2014, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Nathan Phillips, Nature, Newsmakers 0 comments

phillipsNature
Nathan Phillips, College of Arts & Sciences

Google’s fleet of city-mapping cars are now working to measure urban natural gas leaks…

Expert quote:

“It doesn’t take a lot of guesswork to say, ‘There’s a 120 year old pipe running under this street, it’s probably a leaky street.’”

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Google Earth captures city’s leaky gas pipelines

July 16th, 2014 in 2014, Boston Globe, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Nathan Phillips, Newsmakers 0 comments

phillips5Boston Globe (subscription required)
Nathan Phillips, College of Arts & Sciences

Google Earth’s prowling map cars have helped produce the latest image of Boston’s leaky gas pipelines and offered an example of how sensors are starting to make environmental information more public…

Expert quote:

“Taking this information and making it more publicly accessible is an important thing to do. It’s raising the awareness of this issue.”

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Google Streetview cars sniff out gas leaks in cities

July 16th, 2014 in 2014, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Nathan Phillips, New Scientist, Newsmakers 0 comments

phillips5New Scientist
Nathan Phillips, College of Arts & Sciences

Now Google StreetView cars can do more than let you explore places you have never visited. Sensors strapped to the top of the cars have mapped hundreds of methane leaks around Boston, New York’s Staten Island and Indianapolis…

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Methane leak? Robot sniffer dog is on the case

June 5th, 2014 in 2014, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Nathan Phillips, New Scientist, Newsmakers 0 comments

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Nathan Phillips, College of Arts & Sciences

A lone robot trundles through an old landfill in central Sweden, shooting out a laser beam…

Expert quote:

“This would be a good solution, especially for unknown and potentially hazardous environments or terrain.”

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Boston’s Leaky Gas Pipes Pose Safety Risks

April 17th, 2014 in 2014, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Nathan Phillips, Newsmakers, WBUR 0 comments

phillips5WBUR “Radio Boston”
Nathan Phillips, College of Arts & Sciences

Wednesday night there was an explosion in Dorchester that injured a dozen people, two of them seriously. The explosion and three-alarm fire are thought to have been caused by a possible gas leak…

Listen to audio of expert Nathan Phillips