EghtesadOnline: Research projects to convert low-quality flared gas into electricity are producing the desired results, a senior consultant in the Energy Research Institute said Thursday.
"Collaboration between ERI and the Research Institute of Petroleum Industry -- a research and development arm of the Oil Ministry -- can help prevent 17 billion cubic meters of gas from being wasted," Hamid Chitchian was quoted as saying by the Energy Ministry news portal.
Iran is among the top three gas-flaring countries after Russia and Iraq. According to a report by the Majlis Research Center, almost 17 bcm of gas is flared and wasted in Iran annually -- a net $6 billion loss for the treasury.
"Flaring is a major environmental concern for the oil sector that is why turning the waste gas into electrical power can benefit the nation and the key power sector that is striving to expand the national grid," he said, without elaborating on the outcome of the research, according to Financial Tribune.
Flaring is the burning of natural gas that cannot be processed or sold. It is known as associated petroleum gases (APG) and is an important safety measure in most oil and gas production sites as it prevents industrial plant equipment from over-pressuring and exploding.
Burning high levels of APG is a major source of pollution because large amounts of harmful emissions are released in the environment.
According to Ruud van Arent, managing director of Holland Renewable Energy Technologies-- the world's provider of equipment that generates clean power from low-quality and waste gases from a wide variety of industries, if all the gas flared around the world is converted into electricity, it could provide every household in a country the size of Germany or France with free power.
According to a World Bank report, approximately 140 bcm of natural gas is flared annually across continents, causing more than 300 million tons of carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere.
Flaring carries methane, ethane and propane into the atmosphere. These compounds contribute to air pollution.