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Webinar: GHG Reduction Opportunities through Detection and Quantification of Belowground Natural Gas Pipeline Leaks

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Webinar: GHG Reduction Opportunities through Detection and Quantification of Belowground Natural Gas Pipeline Leaks

August 8 @ 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CDT


Natural gas leakage from underground infrastructure results in gas buildup and migration though soil and ultimately its release into the air or a substructure. To advance leak detection and quantification methods for underground leaks, there is a critical need to understand how environmental conditions affect the gas migration and how to factor this information into decision making.

This seminar will highlight recent experimental and numerical modeling results on the effects of environmental conditions on methane transport caused by leaks from pipelines. Kate will discuss the conditions and mechanisms affecting gas migration and ways to account for such factors in our decision making to support a more efficient leak response. Her talk will summarize key findings from a series of on-going experiments performed at the Methane Emission Technology Evaluation Center (METEC) at Colorado State University as well as numerical modeling results used to unravel the relative contribution of environmental parameters. Results illustrate how changes in subsurface, surface and atmospheric conditions can mask leak severity.

Understanding the gas concentration relative to the environmental conditions could assist proper leak detection and classification. Results are important for the advancement of methods for measuring underground gas concentrations and quantifying such leak events.


Kathleen Smits PhD, PE (Chair, Civil & Environmental Engineering Department with Southern Methodist University)

Kathleen (Kate) Smits is a professor in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering, serving as chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Solomon Professor for Global Development.  Prior to SMU, Kate was a Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington from 2018 to 2022; an Associate Professor at Colorado School of Mines from 2010 to 2018 and and Associate Professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy from 2004 to 2007.  She has served as a civil and environmental engineering project manager in the U.S. Air Force, including various deployments and is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves.

Kate’s research interests are focused on energy and the environment with applications to natural gas leakage, the clean up of contaminated soils and waterways, and the storage of renewable energy.  Much of her research looks toward the development of tools and models to better understand such systems.  Kate teaches courses in environmental clean-up in developing communities, contaminant transport modeling, and water resources and other topics that align with furthering research in these areas. As the Solomon Professor for Global Development, she is affiliated as a Senior Fellow with the Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity at the Lyle School of Engineering at SMU.


$10 for members, $25 for non-members, Free for Student Members or Life Members


August 8
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CDT
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Texas Section