Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi has received a $539,998 grant to research and develop an unmanned aircraft system that can detect emissions from oil and gas pipelines and plants.
This is the first time the university has ever gotten the three-year grant from the National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation Program.
University researchers plan to build and program the aircraft system, commonly referred to as a drone, with precise sensors that is able to fly over areas, such as oil wells to measure the atmosphere’s chemical components and optical and infrared imagery.
With those measures, researchers would be able to identify where excessive emissions are coming from, and may also be used to monitor and ensure air quality meets environmental standards.
Drones with these capabilities would be in demand in the oil and gas industry, particularly in areas such as the Eagle Ford Shale energy play, where work and drilling locations can be remote and challenging.
“We are excited to be at the forefront of development in UAS technology that is poised to change the way business is done in the oil and gas field,” Ahmed Mahdy, Associate Vice President for Research, Commercialization and Outreach, said in a statement. “Projects like this can help companies operate efficiently and work to keep us all safe.”
The technology developed during this project will also be integrated into computer science, engineering, physical and environmental sciences courses at the university.
The National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation awarded other grants to the university’s College of Science and Engineering the past three years, totaling $1.36 million. Those funds helped the university establish a state-of-the-art stable isotope laboratory and its high-performance computing capacity.
This article was written by Chris Ramirez from Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Texas and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.