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Use unfuelled Diesel engines to heat air by compression. Any methane in the air will be burned off, if compression is high enough.



Stolaroff et al. consider catalytically-assisted compression heating and oxidation of rarefied methane, but not in reciprocating engines.  Comparison of efficiency between engines types requires numerical modeling.  Heat transfer losses are reduced in larger reciprocating engines (due to scale effects) therefore large marine diesel engines offer a starting point for modeling.

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What are other key benefits?

In some cases, the plant may have a net energy output.  More generally, the development of this technology would be beneficial to all thermally-degraded pollution fluxes.  This would apply as much to paint solvents or agriculturally-derived methane as would be the case for methane fluxes from natural sources.

What are the proposal’s costs?

This technique is largely unleveraged, and would ultimately require a very large investment to roll out at scale.  However, the necessary R&D can be conducted for a sum of around a million, for a basic programme of modification to existing plant.  Development of custom-designed engines which are properly scaled and fully optimised will cost many tens of millions.

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