Investor Update Vol 10 Blog ARPA-E Bridger Photonics GML LIDAR Gas Mapping Technology

ARPA-E Investor Update Vol. 10: Bridger Photonics' Gas-Mapping LIDAR

Bridger Photonics’ Novel Methane Detection Technology

ARPA-E awardee Bridger Photonics, a Montana-based company developing methane detection technology, raised $55 million in funding from Beaverhead Partners, a syndicate composed of Madison Valley Partners, Carica Sustainable Investments, and Next Frontier Capital. The investment – one of the largest investments from venture capital seen in the state of Montana – will allow Bridger Photonics to continue its rapid growth and bring in new employees for their recent office expansion.

Bridger Photonics’ Gas Mapping LiDARTM (GML) methane detection technology is composed of LiDAR sensors and analytics that provides a new method of leak detection for oil and gas companies. The oil and gas industries are under pressure to reduce methane emissions, but current systems of methane detection are inefficient and cost prohibitive. GML detects, locates, and quantifies methane emissions across the entire natural gas supply chain. Bridger Photonics’ technology scans oil and gas infrastructures from the air, pinpoints leaks, quantifies the emission rate, and creates a map that images each plume to pinpoint the exact location to which field safety crews can be deployed. This technology addresses issues of cost efficiency and optimizes the use of resources, providing actionable data for the oil and gas industry to use for actual methane reduction.

ARPA-E SCALEUP 2019 Bridger Photonics GML

Shown above is an example of the GML’s capabilities in imaging methane plumes. Data product includes path integrated concentration, GPS leak source location, geo-registered aerial photography, plume imagery, persistency vs. intermittency, and time and date of measurement.

Bridger Photonics received over $4.5 million as part of ARPA-E’s SCALEUP 2019 program. The goal of SCALEUP is to translate the performance achieved at the lab-and bench-scale to commercially viable and scalable versions of the technology. Bridger Photonics has been able to automate their data processing and management tools, finalize a new set of highly sensitive and accurate hardware designs for at-scale manufacturing, advance predictive algorithm capabilities, and integrate this technology into customer operations using this SCALEUP funding. Bridger Photonics’ GML technology will be able to detect more than 90% of emissions from the oil and gas industry across hundreds of site locations a day.

Bridger Photonics was initially funded under ARPA-E’s MONITOR program. MONITOR funded innovative technologies to cost-effectively and accurately locate and measure methane emissions associated with natural gas production. Using MONITOR program funding, Bridger Photonics originally set out to develop an affordable, mobile methane detection system capable of surveying a 100 square meter area in just over five minutes using LiDAR mounted on unmanned aerial vehicles.  This lightweight, lower cost device with greater measurement sensitivity has evolved into the current technology we see today. Throughout the course of their ARPA-E awards, Bridger Photonics’ has made vast improvements in the amount of infrastructure they can scan, the speed, and the ability to do it using various types of aircraft, which has all led to their increasing impact on the oil and gas industry. 

Bridger Photonics’ technology is a streamlined, cost effective, and impactful pathway to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and natural gas industry.