Project Title: Scaling Disruptive Methane Leak Detection and Quantification

Location: Bozeman, MT

Award Amount: $4,572,000

Bridger Photonics Website



The problem of detecting natural gas (methane) leaks in the oil and gas industry is important and urgent. The oil and gas industry is under tremendous pressure to reduce methane emissions at a time when profitability has suffered historic lows. While the industry largely supports emissions reduction, existing detection methods and technologies are inefficient, unactionable, or cost-prohibitive, which puts the oil and gas industry in an untenable position. The industry desperately needs a solution to disrupt the prevailing process of onerously visiting each site on foot and scanning each piece of equipment by hand in search of emissions.

Technical Approach

Through the ARPA-E MONITOR and SCALEUP programs, Bridger Photonics, Inc. (Bridger) has developed the next generation of methane leak detection and quantification, Gas Mapping LiDAR™ (GML). This innovative technology is transformational to the environmental effects of oil and gas production, transmission, and distribution, scanning oil and gas infrastructure to detect, locate, and quantify methane leaks throughout the entire natural gas value chain. Bridger uses a proprietary laser sensor that is attached to the underside of an aircraft to scan hundreds of oil and gas sites a day, streamlining the methane mitigation process with the most sensitive aerial leak detection and repair technology available.

Through ARPA-E funding, Bridger has been able to (1) fully automate job planning, data processing and management tools, (2) finalize second-generation hardware designs with improved sensitivity and accuracy and scale manufacturing, (3) advance predictive algorithm capabilities, and (4) begin to integrate its technology into customer operations.


Bridger’s team consists of laser physicists, data scientists, geographic information system experts, and passionate people looking to make a difference. ARPA-E funding has been vital to Bridger’s growth and helping to provide the oil and gas industry with actionable data about their methane emissions.

ARPA-E Mission Alignment

With the detection sensitivity enabled by the proposed SCALEUP project improvements, GML will be able to detect and image >90% of emissions in the oil and gas industry from the air. By cost-effectively providing an “answer key” showing the locations and rates of these emissions, GML represents one of the fastest, least expensive, and most impactful pathways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Bridger Photonics ARPA-E SCALEUP

Example product of Gas Mapping LiDAR’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.

SCALEUP 2019_Bridger2

Image of Gas Mapping LiDAR sensor, typically attached to an aircraft for aerial scans.