Prof. Phillips tracking gas leaks in Boston

phillipsProfessor Nathan Phillips, of BU’s Department of Geography and Environment, coordinator in Spring 2012 of CC106, has earned a reputation as a passionate advocate for sustainability. In 2007, BU Today recognized him for maintaining a zero-emissions office, powered by a bicycle generator. This summer, he made headlines in the Boston Globe for using a personal cavity ring-down spectrometer to monitor natural gas leaks from his car. Professor Philips began this work in order to document wasted greenhouse gasses that add to the Boston metropolitan area’s carbon footprint. However, as he explored the Boston area–he estimates he has covered about 1% of its streets–he has found several leaks that are significant enough to pose explosion hazards. Professor Phillips’ work comes at a time when the Massachusetts legislature is debating a new law that would require more immediate responses to gas leaks by utilities companies, as concerns grow about the nearly 8 million cubic feet of natural gas that goes unaccounted for in the state each year. (via)

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