GHGSat, a global leader in high-resolution emissions monitoring from space, will launch the world’s first commercial satellite focused on monitoring sources of carbon dioxide (CO2) later this year. Currently under construction, GHGSat-C10 will use the same sensor and communications technologies proven by the company’s pioneering fleet of high-resolution methane-hunting satellites. Like them, it will be able to measure emissions from individual industrial facilities – in this instance, sites such as power stations and cement plants – on a routine and repeated basis – which promises to be another first in the field of remote CO2 measurement.

CO2 detection has always been part of the company’s mission. Its demonstrator satellite, known as “Claire,” launched in 2016, was designed to detect carbon dioxide as well as methane (CH4). The focus shifted to methane alone as demand for data on the second most important greenhouse gas grew rapidly.

Six years on, and with six satellites now in orbit, the core technology is well-developed and proven in service. GHGSat has successfully scaled to become an acknowledged global leader in the remote sensing of industrial emissions. Meanwhile, demand for independent and attributable emissions data has grown, especially with the emergence of Environmental and Social Governance (ESG).

In response, GHGSat will be launching the first commercial spacecraft dedicated to measuring CO2 from industrial emitters. GHGSat-C10 will use a similar optical design and the same patented infrared sensor as its methane-detecting predecessors, but tuned to CO2’s specific wavelengths.

With regulators, investors and the public increasingly holding companies to account for both their direct and indirect emissions, there is little doubt that better COdata is needed. Although there is a host of public satellites in orbit able to detect the gas, including Japan’s GOSATS 1 and 2, OCO-2 from the US and China’s TanSat, none have GHGSat-C10’s combination of high sensitivity and single-site attribution at the 25-metre scale. The company is adapting its processing tools so the CO2 data collected will seamlessly integrate into its SPECTRA platform, for easy access by customers and partners.

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This will be particularly insightful for industries producing large volumes of CO2, such as steel mills and petrochemical complexes. Although many have Continuous Emissions Monitoring Systems (CEMS) in place, independent verification can help optimize day-to-day operations – thereby reducing emissions – while improving ESG reporting. At national and international levels, the data will add to the accuracy of emissions inventories and global models.

“Over the past seven years, we have shown there is demand – from industry and the public sector – for accurate, independent, high-resolution emissions data from space. It helped change the conversation around methane, putting a greenhouse gas that was out of sight and out of mind, to the top of the climate agenda,” said Stephane Germain, CEO at GHGSat.

“When GHGSat-C10 launches later this year, we hope to revitalize the discussion around CO2 as well, providing industry and government with tools to help them address this global issue, at the local level.”

Stay tuned for details regarding the launch date.


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