Google camera cars received new technology which allowed them to map methane leaks, making them especially valuable to the public and cities all over the states.
Methane is found in natural gas, and according to the project partners at Colorado State University, is 80 times more potent when compared to carbon dioxide over the course of 20 years.
As of right now, only four cars are carrying the methane detection equipment but have found leaks in cities such as Dallas, Los Angeles, Boston, and Pittsburgh among several others. The cars have mostly detected methane leaks in urban areas which have old gas lines right beneath their streets.
The cars are able to use an infrared laser system, which is carried in the trunk of the car, allowing them to log methane data as they drive. The project is being paid for through the Environmental Defense Fund.
The cars are seeking out methane leaks so the leaks can be fixed which will have tremendous environmental benefits on the cities being affected. Joe von Fischer, project head, spoke out saying, “One of the reasons we’re focusing on methane leaks in cities is that we can actually do something about them.”
Although the cars are successfully finding these leaks, the leaks are extremely expensive to fix which is why many of them still exist. Many companies don’t fix the pipes, even if they are aware of leaks, until they become dangerous. However, now the public has knowledge of these leaks as well.
With Google Street View cards discovering and identifying the methane leaks, hopefully the leaks will start to get more attention so the amount of greenhouses gases being leaked into cities will decline.