Alternative Pathways to Achieve Reduction in Natural Gas Flaring

April 1, 2015

Team members: Dylan Brown, Paul Burgess, Isaac Fraynd, Jacob Goyne, Victor Holten, Max Orenstein, Ryder Quigley, Ilhan Savut, and Rui Wang

At this stage of the project, our three teams are working towards finalizing each of their unique solutions to reduce flaring at well sites. As we continue to develop our research and case studies, we aim to analyze the economic feasibility and real-world practicality of each possible solution. We have continued to meet as a single unit, but have now also broken down most of our work into our smaller focus groups for efficiency. For general purposes, our assumptions and variable calculations are the same across project groups.

Isaac Fraynd, Dylan Brown, Ryder Quigley: Flare Gas Powered Fleet Vehicle Distribution Center

This project group is developing a case study to analyze the feasibility of using flare gas to power FedEx fleet vehicles in Stark County,    North Dakota. The business plan includes using raised capital funds to purchase a warehouse capable of servicing FedEx and renting this facility out to them for a fixed period of time. Tankers would carry the compressed flare gas from the designated well sites to the warehouse distribution center, which also serves as a fueling station hub and FedEx processing warehouse. Profits would accumulate as a result of the set rental premium over the term of the contract, and costs would include the benefits we give FedEx to encourage them to use this facility (e.g. free fuel).

Max Orenstein, Ilhan Savut, Paul Burgess: Methane Mitigation Through Bacterial Growth Optimization

This project group is examining the feasibility of creating feedstock using methanotrophs. These methanotrophs are chosen specifically for their ability to use flare gas as their source of methane. Research is currently focused on whether the technology exists and if the process is economically feasible. Feedstock comparisons are made in lieu of either soy bean meal or fish meal for monogastric animals, and studies have shown that bacteria based feedstock shows no indication of negative effects on the clinical health of these animals. The group identified Methylococcus capsulatus as the main bacterial species, which will carry out the majority of aerobic methane oxidation due to its high level of methane consumption. Though this bacterial species cannot survive on natural gas alone, with the help of three additional bacteria (composing of 20% of the bacterial culture) it can thrive.

Victor Holten, Rui Wang, Jacob Goyne: Flare Gas Powered Carbon Capture Storage

This project group is further exploring the possibilities of using flare gas for onsite purposes—specifically, leveraging existing technologies and creating a process for both generating electricity and injecting flue gas to increase oil production. The prospect of being able to offer increased shale pressure resulting in increased oil production is especially attractive to potential customers, oil producers operating in the Bakken. The main focus has been dedicated to investigating the Legacy Oil and Gas company’s wells operating in Bottienau, North Dakota. The group has been successful at finding technologies capable of operating using unrefined gas, as well as compressors which have the capability to be deployed with little installation costs and a high degree of durability. The task ahead is to further examine the specification of these technologies and ensure their congruency with the design.