New technology claims to lower gas emissions from oil drilling well sites, if not eliminate emissions altogether, by using solar and wind power in a compressor that is designed to replace pneumatic devices that emit natural gas into the atmosphere.

According to manufacturer Darryl Weflen at Airworks Compressors Corp., a few years ago there became a growing demand for a product the oil field can use that will not emit so many gases into the air. The IWS60 compressor and air skid package is said to have a clean zero when tested for emissions.

“Currently the practice uses gas from the ground to run instruments (pumps, compressors, drills),” Weflen said. “That gas goes into the air. We measured three well sites and together they produce 22,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) daily.”

Weflen said he was concerned with the numbers and saw a need in places like Vernal, with drilling sites and having reports of bad air quality.

“Running the compressor off solar and wind power also allows more natural gas to stay in the ground,” Weflen said. “It leaves the equivalent of one rig in the ground. By using this, the companies would have more gas and oil without gumming up the equipment, it burns cleaner and zero emissions. With the battery pack it is capable of running 24/7.”

According to Utah State University Executive Director and Research Scientist Seth Lyman, in theory this is a good idea and if it were used at every site in the Uintah Basin, there is a big possibility of air quality improvement over time.

“One-third of the emissions are pneumatic devices,” Lyman said “But that is going down through state regulations. This (IWS60) would make it go down even more. To me, the biggest problem is the system uses quite a few solar panels to create enough energy to run. That is the difficult part, the battery and the panels, it would be tricky to get that technology to be adopted throughout the basin; but it would have a big impact on the air in the Basin.”

According to Houghton, field studies indicate that the unit is able to pay for itself in as little as six months, just from the profit increase of selling the gas that would otherwise be vented.

The IWS60 compressor and air skid package is in use at some well sites in Wyoming.

For further information contact the distributor Gabe Houghton with Advanced Environmental Solutions at 435-789-0722, email: look at the webpage at:

Liberty Best can be reached at or 435-789-3511

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