How compressed air can eliminate pneumatic controller emissions and reporting problems

There are several operational and environmental benefits of powering the natural gas production process with compressed air via buried piping instead of using pneumatic controllers.

By Travis Chapman October 18, 2023
Courtesy: RapidAir

Compressed air insights

  1. Transitioning to compressed air from natural gas in pneumatic controllers reduces emissions, ensuring regulatory compliance and financial benefits.
  2. Compressed air technology not only eliminates methane emissions but also leads to cost savings and valuable carbon credits for natural gas producers.

Sustainability and regulatory compliance have increasingly become a focal point in the evolving landscape of energy production. With a growing emphasis on environmental protection, as well as impending regulatory changes, the natural gas industry faces increasing pressure to curb harmful emissions and adopt innovative solutions to meet stricter ESG requirements. By making the switch from powering pneumatic controllers with high-pressure natural gas to compressed air, natural gas producers can realize significant environmental, financial and operational benefits.

Disadvantages of pneumatic controllers

Traditional pneumatic controllers, powered by natural gas, have long been a cornerstone of the natural gas production process. However, this reliance on natural gas leads to emissions leakage, releasing harmful methane into the atmosphere. These emissions not only contribute to climate change but also burden organizations with meticulous tracking and reporting obligations. The results include:

  • Reduced usable product;

  • Environmental harm; and

  • Increased financial/operational strain.

As governments tighten regulations to combat methane emissions, organizations are increasingly seeking sustainable alternatives that are worth the investment of augmenting existing operations.Powered by gas, traditional pneumatic controllers inadvertently contribute to methane emissions. Collectively, emissions stemming from the constant bleed of natural gas from controllers are a large source of emissions in the natural gas industry. Government bodies, like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are introducing regulations that demand increased accountability for methane emissions, creating urgency for innovative solutions.

Courtesy: RapidAir

Environmental, political impacts of focusing on methans

The increased focus on methane emissions reduction aligns with escalated global efforts to mitigate climate change. The U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Program seeks to cut emissions significantly. This plan includes tighter regulations, financial incentives and enhanced transparency, further compelling natural gas producers to adopt strategies that embrace environmental stewardship while adhering to evolving regulations.

Courtesy: RapidAir

Courtesy: RapidAir

Compressed air can power the natural gas production process

Powering the natural gas production process with compressed air alleviates the need for traditional pneumatic controllers powered by gas. Instead, they are replaced by a system of buried compressed air piping, effectively eliminating methane emissions and fostering a more sustainable and efficient operation.

By adopting compressed air systems, natural gas companies can significantly reduce emissions associated with pneumatic controllers. This approach directly addresses the key challenge of methane leaks in the natural gas gathering process, effectively eliminating methane emissions and the costly, time-intensive reporting operations they require. Compressed air successfully reduces the industry’s carbon footprint while maintaining operational efficiency.

Environmental, financial impacts of compressed air systems

Embracing compressed air systems not only curbs emissions but also offers financial benefits. Methane emission reduction can lead to the earning of valuable carbon credits. Furthermore, the initial investment in compressed air technology can be recouped within just a year, leading to long-term savings and sustainable operations.

Courtesy: RapidAir

How to measure with compressed air

By installing subterranean semi-flexible compressed air piping on-site, traditional pneumatic controllers can be replaced by compressed air, powered by an air compressor. By transitioning from traditional gas-powered pneumatic controllers to compressed air systems, producers eliminate emissions while optimizing operations.

Courtesy: RapidAir

Meet regulatory requirements without sacrificing the bottom line

Compressed air systems are a viable solution for organizations focused on ramping up their environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives. By eliminating pneumatic controller emissions and embracing environmentally conscious practices, companies can meet regulatory requirements, reduce their carbon footprint, and contribute to a more socially responsible energy production process.


Author Bio: Travis Chapman is the regional sales manager for RapidAir. An experienced, established sales professional with a proven track record of success in the oil and gas market, Travis has real-world experience integrating compressed air solutions into the natural gas supply chain.