ABB greenhouse gas sensors onboard SpaceX rocket to detect emissions 

ABB greenhouse gas sensors onboard SpaceX rocket to detect emissions 

ABBbuilt optical sensors have been deployed on three additional methane satellites launched by GHGSat, the emerging leader in space-based greenhouse gas sensing services. The successful launch was carried out by SpaceX’s Transporter-7 mission from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. 

he ABB-built greenhouse gas sensors can map emissions of methane from space at a resolution 100 times higher than any other sensor. While previously only larger regions could be surveyed, for the first time, the greater granularity of the GHGSat methane map now enables the identification of the source of the emissions. An additional nine units built by ABB were launched at the end of 2022 across the first private satellite constellation dedicated to emission measurement. 

Space offers the ideal location to freely monitor emissions across jurisdictions and quantitatively report on improvements. The ABB-built greenhouse gas sensors will provide valuable insights that will enable governments and industries worldwide to meet their emission reduction targets and reduce the negative impact of global warming. 

“We selected ABB for its ability to deliver world-class instruments while meeting the challenges of a new space company like ours,” said Stephane Germain, CEO of GHGSat. “We strive to innovate for the needs of the future, and we’re excited to work with ABB to achieve that.” 

“ABB shares GHGSat’s goal of reducing emissions through the creation of their greenhouse gas sensing constellation. Our selection as the manufacturer for these advanced sensors demonstrates our competitiveness and strong fit with the private space sector requirements,” said Marc Corriveau, General Manager ABB Measurement & Analytics Canada. 

ABB and GHGSaT_Quebec 2020v2

“The space revolution is well underway, and ABB, with its heritage of unique space instruments and serial production of advanced measurement sensors for industrial applications, is extremely well positioned to serve this emerging sector,” he continued. 
This marks the third GHGSat launch featuring optical sensors built at ABB’s state-of-the-art facility in Québec City. Beyond these, ABB has three more sensors ready for delivery: two designated for methane measurement, while the third will monitor CO2 emissions.  

With its involvement in the Canadian SCISAT mission and the Japanese GOSAT series of satellites, ABB has been at the forefront of greenhouse gas sensing from space for over two decades. ABB optical equipment already in space has accumulated over 100 years of reliable operation.  

The SCISAT sensor tracks subtle, long-term changes in the atmosphere’s composition down to parts per trillion. It works on over 70 molecules and pollutants and has been in service since 2003. Global weather agencies base their predictions on ABB equipment flying onboard the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather satellites (NPP and JPSS). This data saves lives by improving the timeliness and accuracy of weather forecasts for up to seven days. 

ABB is also a global leader in earthbound continuous emission monitoring, with over 60,000 systems installed in more than 50 countries worldwide. Continuous Emissions Monitoring Systems (CEMS) continuously record and evaluate emissions data across all industries. They provide important information for the environmental and economic operation of production facilities. The range includes the ACF5000, which accurately and reliably monitors up to 15 gas components simultaneously. 

Photo credit : GHGSat HUGO satellite illustration.