Methane Emissions Challenge: Component Manufacturing Can Play a ‘Starring Role’
Our products support almost all 41 founding partners in the Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program
For years at Lyall, we’ve been making innovative prefab products and meter set valves to help some of the country’s biggest natural gas utilities reduce stray methane emissions. And we’ve done this for two main reasons: (1) It’s a great business to be in, and (2) we like leaving work every day feeling like our efforts might help make the world a better place. So when we learned several of our utility customers would serve as founding partners in one of the EPA’s most ambitious programs in history to reduce methane emissions, we were smiling really big (and still are). The program, called the Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge, was launched late last month at the Global Methane Forum in Washington, D.C., where all 41 founding partners committed to adopt a set of best practices within five years.
Some of our long time customers are among the founding partners, including Southwest Gas, CenterPoint Energy, Consumers Energy, Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), and Southern California Gas Company.
THE BIGGER PICTURE
If you’re interested, you can download the Methane Challenge Program Best Management Practice (BMP) Commitment Framework, which details the program’s ambitious suite of practices. One of the coolest things about the STAR program is its “showcase” component—a forum that supports knowledge-sharing, accountability and recognition. In short, the showcase gives partners a platform to tell the world about their efforts to reduce emissions, improve air quality, and capture and monetize natural gas. On an official release, the EPA said that the STAR program, “has the capability to comprehensively and transparently reduce emissions and realize significant voluntary reductions in a quick, flexible, cost-effective way.” Pretty exciting stuff.
Though the founding partners group is set, any utility company can join the program. And we’re hoping everybody will.
In March 2014, the White House first announced a large-scale effort to reduce methane emissions in the oil and natural gas industry. The Obama administration’s January 2015 commitment to cut methane emissions by 40–45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025 was the next phase in that effort. The STAR challenge, then, is the latest phase, built around the data and insights gained since March 2014.
‘UPGRADE & REPLACE’ WILL WIN THE RACE
Because the upgrading and replacement of natural gas delivery systems will be a huge factor moving forward, manufacturing companies like Lyall can play a part in meeting the STAR Challenge. For example, many participants plan to replace cast and ductile iron gas distribution systems with modern polyethylene pipes, and we specialize in the products for these types of systems.
Residential meter set change-out processes can also be a factor. For example, change-out and service methods that incorporate rubber bag technology may need to become a thing of the past. Every time the bag is removed during a change-out or service call, it releases its total volume of gas into the air. While this amount is pretty small on an individual level, the picture becomes alarming when you consider the millions of change-outs and service calls done each year. Our LYCO® A-9 Bypass Valve, which most of our clients use, eliminates the bag (and, thus, the release of gas) altogether.
The STAR Challenge is expected to generate even greater momentum in the already surging sustainable development movement, ushering in an exciting renaissance for natural gas distribution products manufacturing, as well as bringing us all the hope of a cleaner, safer future. The sustainable development of products that help protect our environment has always been a top priority at Lyall, so we’re honored to take part in this great movement.