Exploring Paths to a Cleaner Energy Future in Colorado

Black Hills uses ZEVAC to achieve sustainable gas operations. 

In a move toward decreasing methane emissions, Black Hills Energy’s Colorado natural gas utility recently piloted the innovative new process, ZEVAC, used to clear gas pipelines. “Usually, when a gas pipeline needs to be replaced or repaired, technicians depressurize it and do a “blow down” on the pipe, releasing the gas into the atmosphere,” says Carly, Colorado community affairs manager. Instead, the ZEVAC technology pushes the gas into another section of pipe, avoiding a release of GHG emissions. The trial run of ZEVAC was done in Delta, Colorado, and went well, says West. Utilizing ZEVAC on the pilot project was the equivalent of taking 6.8 cars off the road for a year or 78,000 miles not driven. “It’s a great example of the opportunities for technological advances to make a significant difference in emissions,” she says. Black Hills Energy contracted with a company for this trial run of ZEVAC but we’re now looking into purchasing its own system in the future.