Recovering natural gas at oil wells

“In nighttime satellite images…burning gas looks like bright cities where cities don’t belong.”

angi and emmanuel

This article appears in the Autumn 2014 issue of Energy Futures, the magazine of the MIT Energy Initiative. Subscribe today.

Tata Fellows Angi Acocella and Emmanuel Lim are developing a small-scale gas-to-liquid conversion system designed to save natural gas at oil drilling sites. It has long been considered economically unfeasible to try and make use of the natural gas that is frequently encountered while harvesting oil, so this gas is usually “flared,” or burned off, and thereby wasted.

However, Acocella and Lim feel that this is a potential low-cost source of fuel with application worldwide, and they are developing a novel system for capturing and transporting this gas. Their system will not only change the economics of the situation, but have broad-reaching environmental impacts as well.

A pilot-scale demonstration of the system will begin soon. Follow the link to read Nancy Stauffer’s full story on this project.

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