Extraction of shale gas
Methane is present in the atmosphere at low levels of about 2 parts per million. It is formed naturally, for example by bacteria in wetlands, but at present human activity releases more methane into the atmosphere than natural sources. Part of this is caused by the exploration of shale gas that in recent years has started on a large scale. Measurements show that during the exploration a lot of methane is released into the atmosphere. “Since methane is released by so many different chemical processes, it is difficult to determine which of them contributes most to the increase in atmospheric concentrations”, explains Röckmann.
Distinguishing between bacteria and fossil fuels
“At Utrecht University we are developing instruments to differentiate between the various sources. During the InGOS project, we were able to use our large measurement tower in Cabauw, the Netherlands, to conduct such measurements with a high time resolution for the first time. The results of these measurement make it possible for us to determine whether the methane is primarily created by bacteria or by fossil fuels.”
InGOS is an Integrating Activity (IA) project financed as part of the 7th EU Framework Programme. In the InGOS project scientists from 37 European institutions worked together.
Watch the InGOS animation at YouTube.
Sustainability at Utrecht University
By combining its expertise in the field of sustainability, Utrecht University develops integrated solutions for sustainability issues contributing to a better future for following generations. This theme connects Utrecht’s excellent sustainability research from the humanities, sciences and social sciences with a focus on water, energy and a healthy environment. Sustainability is one of the four strategic research themes at Utrecht University.
More information on the research theme Sustainability.
Monica van der Garde, Press Spokesperson, Faculty of Science
firstname.lastname@example.org, 06 13 66 14 38.