Could Improving Fugitive Emission Measurements Mean Paying Less Tax?
Posted: 05/08/2012 12:00:00 AM EDT | 0
The biggest losers of the new carbon tax could be underground miners if they don’t improve the way they measure fugitive emissions.
Stuart Day, Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO Energy Technology, has said that as one of the largest producers of fugitive emissions, underground miners are naturally concerned about the legislation’s effect on profits.
“The worry for the underground miners is that they’re going to be hit by the carbon tax harder than they need be. So what they want to do is get a more accurate measurement of fugitive emissions,” said Mr Day.
Whilst current methods are sufficient for safety legislations, the carbon tax puts a financial imperative on measuring fugitive emissions. Miners can no longer afford inaccuracy in this or they’ll be paying more taxes.
Mr Day said the challenge for miners is to improve their emission measurements when their current methodologies are ‘rudimentary’.
“There’s high uncertainty in the way mines currently measure air flow and methane concentration in the air,” said Mr Day.
“What we’ve done in our work at the CSIRO is look at more accurate methods of determining fugitive emissions which miners can then use to report to the federal government each year.”
Such methods include choosing the right type of instrument to measure the air; how frequently it should be measured; analysis methods and calibration requirements.
The CSIRO’s work is not ground-breaking, but it will make a significant difference to the accuracy of fugitive emission measurements and miners’ profits.
“It’s just fairly simple stuff but if it’s employed it will make a large difference,” said Mr Day.
Mr Day said there are two main causes of inaccurate measurements: the use of instruments and the frequency of measurement.
“The instruments for measuring concentration are a problem since they are currently designed to measure a range of 0 - 100% and we’re looking to measuring concentrations of less than 1% - so there’s a large relative error,” said Mr Day.
“Secondly, it’s the frequency of the measurement: flow measurements are usually made once a month and that doesn’t capture any variation of flow within that month.”
Whilst there’s no guarantee that more accurate emissions measurement equates to paying less tax, it can be a useful and practical start for miners.
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