ROCHESTER, N.Y., June 1, 2015 — Exelis (NYSE: XLS) is monitoring a site in Illinois for possible carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions as part of a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy seeking to improve greenhouse gas-monitoring technologies. The project is administered through DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.
Exelis engineers installed a multipoint laser-based system called GreenLITE to provide constant monitoring of a half-square kilometer area at an operational carbon sequestration site. The site, adjacent to an ethanol production facility, has captured 1 million metric tons of CO₂ in underground storage over the last three years.
Carbon dioxide capture and storage is a method to reduce CO₂ emissions from new and existing coal and gas power plants and large industrial sources, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Carbon dioxide is captured and transported via pipeline for injection into deep underground rock formations where it is stored. EPA officials say the process could play an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Energy Department officials want to ensure carbon storage is safe and effective. The department is funding projects such as GreenLITE to monitor and verify potential CO2 releases to ensure safety and environmental concerns can be addressed.
“Exelis offers a unique capability to persistently monitor a wide area,” said Jeremy Dobler, Exelis program manager and senior scientist. “Our system is designed to run autonomously and send text messages with updates and geolocates concentrations of CO₂ allowing for fast reaction times,” Dobler said. Current technology requires a month to collect and analyze the data using a person on foot walking with a handheld device and then analyzing the data at a later time.
“By the time emissions from a potential leak are found during routine monthly monitoring, CO₂ could have been entering the atmosphere for weeks defeating the purpose of reducing environmental consequences of the leak,” Dobler said. “We’re also examining ways to extend the capability to cover areas up to 100 square kilometers. This would allow the system to cover much larger carbon-capture facilities or even an urban area, given the importance of cities in carbon emissions.” The technology is one of several Exelis has developed for climate-related ground-, air- and space-based monitoring programs. They include technology for NASA’s space-based Radiation Budget Instrument, the primary payload for the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Observing Satellite-2 and an airborne system for NASA research with Penn State University as part of the Atmospheric Carbon and Transport-America project.
Exelis is a diversified, top-tier global aerospace, defense, information and services company that leverages a greater than 50-year legacy of deep customer knowledge and technical expertise to deliver affordable, mission-critical solutions for global customers. Exelis is a leader in positioning and navigation, sensors, air traffic management solutions, image processing and distribution, communications and information systems; and focused on strategic growth in the areas of critical networks, ISR and analytics, electronic warfare and composite aerostructures. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Exelis employs approximately 10,000 people and generated 2014 sales of approximately $3.3 billion For more information, visit our website at www.exelisinc.com or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.