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Methane in the groundwater system in association with unconventional oil and gas extraction




1: Civil and Environmental Engineering

Faculty Supervisor:

Desiree Plata

Faculty email:


Apply by:

February 11, 2021


Yunpo Li: yunpoli@mit.edu

Project Description

This project entails measuring methane, a greenhouse gas 80 times more potent than CO2 in 20 years, in areas of rich unconventional oil and gas development in the Eastern United States. The UROP will work on quantifying dissolved methane in groundwater and explore any possible correlation with shale gas extraction. The student(s) will learn to use various analytical tools, including gas chromatography. The student(s) will also learn about the data processing pipeline using Python and PostgreSQL, as well as data visualization and statistical analysis tools. The overarching goal of this project is to augment the understanding of shale gas’ carbon footprint and inform better climate policy design. Hands-on instruction on running samples will be provided before the students can conduct analysis independently. This position will be in person.


Basic chemistry and/or organic chemistry is a major plus, but not absolutely needed; careful and organized working habits are strongly desired.