AUSEA: The Innovative Technology for Reducing Our Carbon and Methane Emissions

Location: Worldwide
Partners: TotalEnergies, CNRS, University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne
Main activity: Detection and measurement of methane and carbon dioxide emissions
Commissioning: 2022


of our methane emissions reduction objective in 2030, compared to 2020

Drone of the AUSEA project, methane emissions detector

Methane emissions have many dispersed sources (animal husbandry, transportation, decomposing waste, fossil fuel production and combustion, etc.). As a pioneer in detecting and quantifying emissions in real-life conditions, TotalEnergies is using the AUSEA technology developed in cooperation with the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne. On target: achieving our ambition of zero methane by 2030.

Methane is a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential 28 times higher than that of CO2 and a much shorter atmospheric lifetime. Reducing methane emissions is a priority, and TotalEnergies intends to establish an exemplary track record in this area.

Since 2017, the Company has been working with the CNRS and the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne to develop the AUSEA technology (Airborne Ultralight Spectrometer for Environmental Applications) to detect and quantify methane and carbon dioxide emissions.

AUSEA: a solution for measuring emissions

The AUSEA technology comprises a drone-mounted ultralight CO2 and CH4 sensor for ensuring access to hard-to-reach emission points while delivering readings with the highest precision. The sensor features a diode laser spectrometer and is capable of detecting and quantifying methane emissions with a high level of accuracy (> 1 kg/h).

In 2022, a campaign to detect and measure emissions on site in real-life conditions covered 95% of operated sites(1) in the upstream sector. More than 1,200 AUSEA flights were carried out in 8 countries to cover 125 sites.

The long-term objective is to use the technology as part of a seamless and autonomous system. To achieve this aim, the research teams are looking to develop an unmanned drone navigation system with data automatically streamed to the servers, as well as instantaneous data processing and reporting capabilities. Automating the system will deliver immediate results to local operators at the facilities and increase the number of flights.

In addition to the detection campaign at our operated sites, we are in advanced discussions with certain operators of our non-operated assets to make this technology available to them and carry out targeted detection campaigns on these assets.

Moving towards zero methane

Between 2010 and 2020, we halved our methane emissions by spearheading an action program targeting each of the emission sources at our assets (flaring, venting, fugitive emissions and incomplete combustion) and reinforcing the design criteria for our new facilities. To go even further, we are committed to a 50% reduction in our methane emissions by 2025 and 80% by 2030 compared to 2020 levels.

These targets cover all the Company's operated assets and go beyond the 75% reduction in methane emissions from coal, oil and gas between 2020 and 2030 outlined in the IEA's Net Zero Emissions by 2050 scenario.

Watch the video and discover how we are measuring our emissions with AUSEA:

(1) Calculated as a percentage of 100% operated production

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