The Global Methane Initiative Update
Issue 28, June 2012
In this edition:
- Methane Expo 2013: Call for Abstracts
- Spotlight on Canada: Methane Expo 2013 Host
- Subcommittee Update
- CCAC on a Fast Track
- Plug Flow (Channel) Digesters Installed on Thai Pig Farms
- Sector Action Plans
- Results from U.S. EPA Grants in Support of GMI
- GMI Outreach
Methane Expo 2013: Call for Abstracts
Preparation and planning for Methane Expo 2013 has begun! This premier international forum is designed to promote the recovery and use of methane through new projects and technologies.
The Global Methane Initiative's (GMI's) Administrative Support Group (ASG) is requesting one-page abstracts for presentations to be given at technical and policy sessions. Topics should be relevant to reducing global methane emissions, advancing the abatement, recovery, and use of methane as a clean energy source. Abstracts should focus on the GMI sectors: agriculture, coal mines, landfills, municipal wastewater systems, and oil and natural gas systems. The deadline to submit an abstract is 29 June 2012.
For more information about the call for abstracts or other details about the event, please visit the Methane Expo 2013 Web page.
Spotlight on Canada: Methane Expo 2013 Host
Next March, Canada, a leader in GMI-related efforts, will host Methane Expo 2013 in Vancouver. Canada is strongly committed to working with its international partners to address climate change and methane-related international cooperation is a key way Canada is supporting effective international action in this area.
Canada's participation as a GMI Partner Country stretches across multiple committees and sectors. In particular, Canada participates on the Steering Committee as well as the Agriculture, Municipal Solid Waste (previously known as the Landfill Subcommittee) and newly established Municipal Wastewater Subcommittees, and serves as Co-Chair of the Oil and Gas Systems Subcommittee. To date, Canada has hosted two GMI meetings; in September 2009 Canada hosted an Oil and Gas Systems Technology Transfer and Subcommittee Meeting and in January 2007, the country hosted an Energy Management Workshop for Upstream and Midstream Operations.
In the agricultural sector, Canadian livestock generate more than 200 million metric tons of manure each year, producing the methane equivalent of nearly 4 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide. In response, Canada operates more than 16 operational anaerobic digester systems using farm and food industry biomass. The resulting biogas is used to provide on-site heat or electricity. Canada is also active in supporting GMI Partners and projects and has partnered with Mexico to study the applicability of robust low temperature anaerobic digester technologies to manage livestock manure. This joint research will determine site characteristics, design, and engineering specifications to implement an anaerobic digester on a swine farm on the Yucatan Peninsula and convert the biogas into clean energy and reuse manure nutrients to reduce the need for fossil fuel-based fertilizers.
Canada is also working to reduce domestic methane emissions from landfills, which are estimated to produce approximately 27 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually. Sixty-four facilities across Canada recover landfill gas (LFG), reducing greenhouse gas emissions from landfills by 6.9 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually. Beyond its borders, Canada is working with Colombia, Chile, and Mexico on various projects that offer a suite of options to divert organic matter from landfills and reduce methane emissions.
Methane released from oil and natural gas systems represent almost half of Canada's total methane emissions. Canada is a world leader in reducing methane from oil and gas sector sources, implementing requirements to reduce venting and flaring. The province of Alberta has achieved over 50 percent reduction in venting of associated gas at crude oil and crude bitumen facilities between 2000 and 2010, although emissions since 2006 have begun to rise again due to significant increases in production of bitumen. Requirements to carry out methane leak detection and repair for equipment have been in place since 2010. The provinces of British Columbia and Saskatchewan are also taking action to reduce methane emissions from these sources.
To help further address these emissions, Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada were instrumental in the development of the ON TIME Tool , which displays interactive flow diagrams of oil and gas systems. The goal of the ON TIME Tool is to provide easy access to information on cost-effective technologies and practices that reduce emissions. Internationally, Canadian-funded projects in China, Colombia, and Mexico have helped to reduce fugitive methane emissions, decrease greenhouse gas externalities, improve energy efficiency, and conserve valuable non-renewable resources at the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Sinopec and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), and GMI Partner organization Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), and EcoPetrol in Colombia.
Since joining GMI in 2005, Canada has invested close to CAN$7.8 million in international projects that support the Initiative's goals of directly reducing or abating methane emissions. This investment was matched by more than $12 million in contributions from other public and private sector partners.
Of this, two projects were recently supported using Canada's $1.2 billion Fast Start Financing contribution, namely work to support the development of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) in the landfill and oil and gas sector. Canada is working with GMI Partner Countries Colombia, Chile, and Mexico to facilitate a strategic, inclusive and country-specific capacity building dialogue on methane mitigation and adaptation activities that support a shift towards clean renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy security.
Canada's fast-start financing is also supporting work related to GMI. For example, Canada is contributing CAN$1.9 million to support the Global Alliance for Clean Cook Stoves , an initiative that supports projects in Colombia, Ghana, Mexico, and Peru that will improve the health of families in those countries and reduce the climate warming impact of emissions of black carbon, including through the adoption of cook stoves that use biogas and LFG.
Canada is also contributing CAN$3 million to support the new Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC). This new initiative, of which Canada is a founding member, aims to reduce global emissions of pollutants such as black carbon, hydrofluorocarbons, and methane because of their near-term climate impacts as well as they impacts on air quality and human health.
Canada is looking forward to hosting the GMI's Methane Expo 2013 and welcoming GMI official delegates in Vancouver!
All the subcommittees recently met to continue sector-related activity discussions, plan for Methane Expo 2013, and hear about the latest news on the CCAC initiative (see next article for background). Highlights from these meetings as well as action items from each subcommittee meeting are listed below.
The Agriculture Subcommittee held an Internet-based meeting on 10 April 2012, which began with Partner Country updates from Canada, India, and Pakistan. Representatives from each country spoke about their respective activities in the agriculture sector. Monica Shimamura, Co-Director of GMI's ASG, provided an update on GMI activities including how the ASG is working with the United States to develop an updated sector Action Plan and guidelines. The meeting also included a discussion of agenda topics for the next in-person meeting, to be held on 2-3 July 2012 in Singapore. Meeting notes from the April meeting will be available on GMI's website. Action items from the meeting included:
- Partner Country delegates to respond to the Agriculture Subcommittee survey; and
- Update sector Action Plans.
The Coal Subcommittee held an Internet-based meeting on 16 May 2012 with more than 20 participants from seven Partner Countries. The meeting began with a brief welcome from the U.S. Co-Chair, Pamela Franklin with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who also announced that she would be stepping down as Co-Chair and Felicia Ruiz with U.S. EPA's Coalbed Methane Outreach Program will be the new U.S. Co-Chair. Monica Shimamura, Co-Director of GMI's ASG, provided an update on GMI activities and Andrew Eli from the U.S. Department of State spoke during this update to provide information on the CCAC. Partner Country updates were provided by representatives from Australia, China, Mongolia, Poland, the United States, and Vietnam. The meeting also included a discussion of the next in-person Coal Subcommittee meeting, which is being hosted by Australia's Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism on 4-6 September 2012 in Sydney, Australia. In addition to the subcommittee meeting, the three-day event will include a site visit as well as a coal industry workshop. The meeting was concluded with Project Network member Raymond Pilcher (Raven Ridge Resources Incorporated) providing an update on the plans for the coal mines sector portion of Methane Expo 2013. Action items from the meeting included:
- Plan for the Coal Subcommittee meeting in Australia; and
- Develop ideas for the coal technical sessions for Methane Expo 2013.
Municipal Solid Waste
The Municipal Solid Waste Subcommittee held an Internet-based meeting on 7 May 2012. Participants accepted the new name for the subcommittee, which was in response to a change in the Terms of Reference for GMI to address the broader waste sector. Participants also discussed the recent peer review and upcoming launch of International Best Practices Guide for Landfill Gas Energy Projects. Other topics covered during the meeting included the recent technical and financial support for preparing waste sector NAMAs and the next in-person meeting, scheduled for 2-3 July 2012 in Singapore. Action items from the meeting included:
- Develop a matrix of ongoing NAMA development activities by country; and
- Incorporate expert reviewer comments on the International Best Practices Guide for Landfill Gas Energy Projects and finalize for distribution at the subcommittee meeting in July.
The Municipal Wastewater Subcommittee has been actively working to recruit delegates and has confirmed participation from 16 Partner Countries: Colombia, Dominican Republic, Finland, Ghana, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Serbia, Turkey, and the United States. The subcommittee held its first Internet-based meeting on 18 April 2012, attracting nearly 20 attendees from 10 countries. Attendees discussed the ongoing development of a sector Action Plan, subcommittee membership and leadership, and ideas for the first in-person subcommittee meeting, scheduled for 2-3 July 2012 in Singapore. Action items from the meeting included:
- Plan for the next in-person subcommittee meeting in July; and
- Provide input on draft sector Action Plan.
Oil & Gas
The Oil & Gas Subcommittee met on 12 April 2012 in Denver, Colorado, United States, in conjunction with the U.S. EPA's Natural Gas STAR Annual Implementation Workshop. Highlights of this combined event included site tours of the Xcel Energy Marshall Compressor Station and the Anadarko Production Facility, a keynote presentation by Sarah Dunham, Director of the Office of Atmospheric Programs at U.S. EPA, and technical presentations, which are available on Natural Gas STAR's workshop Web page . The subcommittee meeting portion of the conference included country-specific updates from Colombia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Norway, Ukraine, and the United States and an update from the ASG on recent activities. The meeting also included a discussion of the new international CCAC initiative including call-in participation by Jonathan Pershing, U.S. Department of State's Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change and an in-depth look into the potential for the subcommittee to develop oil and gas focused NAMAs (highlighted by efforts underway by Canada, Ecopetrol of Colombia, and Mexico's PEMEX). Action items from the meeting included:
- Organize conference calls to discuss the upcoming Methane Expo 2013, as well as the subcommittee's role to ensure the event is as useful as possible for the oil and gas sector participants; and
- Arrange conference calls to advance discussions on short-lived climate pollutants.
CCAC on a Fast Track
Launched in February 2012, the CCAC held their first Ministerial meeting on 24 April 2012 in Sweden. The Coalition, composed of 13 partners, is focused on reducing short-lived climate pollutants and has already established a trust fund with pledges totaling $18 million. Ministers approved five new rapid implementation initiatives targeted to accelerate action against climate-damaging emissions of black carbon, methane, and fluorinated gases (HFCs). Two of these "fast track" initiatives include improving solid waste management practices and reducing methane emissions from landfills and the reduction of methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. For more information, read the press release and visit the Coalition's newly launched website for the latest information.
Plug Flow (Channel) Digesters Installed on Thai Pig Farms
Thai officials are attempting to reverse the trend of rising agricultural emissions. In October 2011, Dr. Arux Chaiyakul, Senior Veterinarian Officer from the Thailand Department of Livestock Development, reported that Thailand reached its goal of installing anaerobic digesters to manage 240,000 pigs' worth of manure. With financial and technical support from GMI and the World Bank's Global Environmental Facility's (GEF's) International Waters Section and technical support from the Thailand Department of Livestock Development and the Thailand Energy Policy and Planning Office, non-traditional plug flow (channel) digester systems have been installed at 30 large swine farms in two provinces (Ratchuburi and Chnonburi) outside of Bangkok. These digesters were bundled under a Program of Activities (PoA) that allows small GHG emission sources such as livestock and food processing facilities to participate in carbon reduction programs. PoAs have also been jointly developed with the World Bank and GMI technical support in the Philippines.
The participating farmers benefit from using the methane as an energy source and byproducts of the digestion process as fertilizer. Of special note is the dried solid fraction of the stabilized material which is bagged and sold to local farms. The approach is an excellent way to control non-point source pollution (NPS) without regulation. Moreover the revenues generated by the sale of stabilized solid waste exceed that of energy generation. The non-traditional plug flow (channel) digester was designed to add this benefit by including wet season solid storage and drying beds to facilitate processing and packaging. The PoA also has a community development component where 10 percent of the carbon payments are directed to poorer communities to develop clean water sources, malaria control, and educational opportunities. The digester systems also improve local water quality, reduce odors, and increase farm productivity. Thailand expects these GMI-supported projects to reduce methane emissions by 120,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. These non-traditional plug flow (channel) systems require a significant investment, so are designed for farms with at least 10,000 pigs. The World Bank's project team was awarded a first place standing in the SmartLessons competition where innovative programs that have resulted in positive impacts on development and environment were evaluated and scored by a panel. Last year, Thailand began an initiative to install less expensive tubular digester systems at 100 small farms and is considering bundling under a small-scale PoA, further reducing emissions from the country's more than 8.5 million pigs. This approach was transferred from the Philippines where GMI and the Land Bank of the Philippines work through pig cooperatives to expand the use of household digesters for cook fuel.
Sector Action Plans
Recently, many countries completed or updated their sector Action Plans. These plans are an important tool to identify the specific needs, opportunities, and priorities for project development. Countries write Action Plans in order to share what efforts have been undertaken, as well as to advance project development.
- In February 2012, Turkey submitted its Coal Action Plan (PDF, 5 pp, 302K), which outlines the opportunities to reduce methane emissions from the coal sector. Coal represents nearly 21 percent of Turkey's total power generation. The Action Plan also highlights Turkey's commitment in GMI, stemming from its two main interests of increasing mine safety by controlling mine methane and reducing GHG emissions by reducing methane emissions from their coal mines.
- In March 2012, Nicaragua completed its Agriculture Action Plan (PDF, 12 pp, 831K) (Spanish only). In 2010, agricultural sources in Nicaragua accounted for nearly 30 percent of methane emissions in the country. The GHG emission sources used for the calculation include domestic livestock, enteric fermentation, manure management, rice cultivation, agricultural soils, prescribed burning of savannas, and field burning of agricultural waste. While there are still many barriers to project development, there are success stories that show the promise of projects in the country. For example, Millennium Challenge Corporation —an independent U.S. foreign aid agency—distributed thin plastic flat sheets to construct bag type digesters to farms in León and Chinandega. They estimate that between 100 and 150 digesters are operating and converting swine waste into biogas. The Inter-American Development Bank, in conjunction with GMI, is also developing a PoA for small sources where technical support is provided by SNV. Farms are able to use the energy produced on-site as cooking fuel replacing biomass fuels and improving kitchen air quality and other health and environmental benefits such as reducing black carbon. Also in March 2012, Nicaragua completed their Landfill Action Plan (PDF, 22 pp, 709K) (Spanish only). Nicaragua has 245 municipal landfills and is promoting policies that help to regulate solid waste disposal, along with waste reduction and recycling. The U.S. EPA's Landfill Methane Outreach Program performed the first feasibility assessment (PDF, 25 pp, 3.3 MB) in the country at La Chureca Landfill in Managua. The study concluded the site offers the opportunity to generate more than 1 megawatt (MW) of electricity. Nicaragua is hoping that other landfill owners will participate in feasibility studies after seeing the positive outcomes from the study at La Chureca.
- In April 2012, Ethiopia submitted their Landfill Action Plan (PDF, 49 pp, 507K), which looked at solid waste management capacity and collection activities in the country, with an in-depth focus on three municipalities—Addis Ababa, Mekele, and Dire Dawa. The study concludes that although there is funding available for capital investment projects, there is a significant gap in resources for long-term technical capacity building and operations and maintenance of solid waste management systems. The Action Plan was designed to fit into both the national climate strategy known as Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy (CRGE) and the economic plan known as the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP). Together these strategies prioritize efforts to achieve a more carbon neutral future. One of the sectors prioritized in the plan includes the rapidly growing urban waste management sector, since emissions from urban solid waste are expected to rise over 200 percent by 2030. According to the GTP, there is an ambitious landfill construction goal that would bring improved municipal solid waste services to 364 towns and cities by 2015. Implementing improved LFG management techniques such as flaring has an annual abatement potential of 0.9 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030. The Landfill Action Plan adds value to the goals of the CRGE and GTP, by filling capacity gaps to reduce emissions from the growing urban solid waste management sector.
Results from U.S. EPA Grants in Support of GMI
ASU Completes Phase I
Appalachian State University (ASU), located in North Carolina, United States, received a $120,000 U.S. EPA grant in 2009 to investigate opportunities for community-based LFG utilization projects in the northeastern Brazilian state of Ceara. Work on their grant was previously reported in Spotlight on Brazil from Methane International's June 2011 issue. ASG posted ASU's Community-based Landfill Gas Utilization in Brazil–Phase I Final Report (PDF, 107 pp, 4.3 MB). The report includes a project summary; outline of Phase II tasks, such as permitting to construct LFG collection systems; and photos. In 2010, ASU received another U.S. EPA grant to implement Phase II.
Handbook for Coalbed Methane Degasification in China
In August 2011, Virginia Tech's Center for Coal and Energy Research completed A Regional Handbook for Coalbed Methane Degasification in the Southern Shanxi Province, China (PDF, 98 pp, 4.5 MB). The handbook was created as part of a 2008 U.S. EPA grant to develop guidelines and evaluate the potential of reducing methane emissions in the southern Shanxi Province at China's Qinshui Coal Basin. The basin contains resources that have the potential to provide sustained energy sources. Safely mining the coal will necessitate coalbed methane extraction plans to ensure the health and safety of miners. The handbook evaluates degasification techniques to capture coalbed methane for energy use. The document also includes an overview of government-related legal issues and incentives, which support coalbed methane extraction.
Lagos Waste Management Authority Releases Feasibility Report
Nigeria's Lagos Waste Management Authority recently released a Draft Feasibility Report (PDF, 33 pp, 994 KB), conducted in conjunction with the Clinton Foundation. In 2010, Lagos Waste Management Authority received a U.S. EPA grant for $80,000 to develop the LFG field assessments at the Abule-Egba and Solous Landfills. The study's main goal was to determine whether developing a Clean Development Mechanism project with LFG capture and utilization was economically feasible. The report concluded that an LFG energy project is feasible and the Lagos state government announced the first phase of the project, which consists of pre-engineering design, would be completed by early 2013.
Source: Olasunkanmi Akoni, "Gas Energy Supply Project Lagos Nigeria," Africa News, 27 February 2012.
In February 2012, Pamela Franklin (with the U.S. EPA's Coalbed Methane Outreach Program) traveled to Australia, where she attended several meetings and a conference. The trip began with a meeting at Geoscience Australia with participants from Partner organization Australia's Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism. This was followed by a roundtable discussion with representatives from GMI Partner organizations such as Australia's Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism; Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency; and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. Topics discussed included Australia's GHG reporting program, treatment of abandoned mines, and water quality impacts from unconventional natural gas sources. Ms. Franklin finished the trip by attending the Coal Seam Gas Risks and Returns conference in Brisbane, where she presented Benefitting from Coal Mine Methane Recovery and Use Projects.
In January 2012, Kurt Roos, Team Leader of Agricultural Methane Programs at the U.S. EPA, traveled to Thailand to participate in the final mission for the Livestock Waste Management in East Asia (LWMEA) project. Funded by the GEF and implemented through the World Bank with technical assistance from GMI and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, the project supported efforts in three countries—China, Thailand, and Vietnam—to address the negative environmental and health impacts of rapidly increasing livestock production. The project resulted in dozens of farm-scale projects and increased awareness and advanced progress toward better water quality and an effective policy framework that can be replicated in other countries. The project is currently being considered to expand to provincial-scale in Guangdong, China as a NPS program, which is similar to the Chesapeake Bay NPS program and is focused on a comprehensive agricultural sector approach that includes conservation agriculture such as integrating crops, livestock, and other high and low strength organic substrates.
On 16 March 2012, GMI traveled to Moscow, Russia, to meet with representatives from oil and gas companies, share resources, learn about oil and gas projects within Russia, introduce Russian companies to GMI and the U.S. EPA's Natural Gas STAR International, and discuss possible cooperation within the programs. There was also a workshop held at the Carnegie Moscow Center, which was co-hosted by the U.S. EPA, Pacific Northwest Laboratory, and World Wildlife Federation-Russia. The workshop focused on reducing methane emissions in the oil and natural gas sector. Representatives from Shell U.S. and Project Network member Hy-Bon Engineering Company provided examples of practices used to identify and recover methane and associated gas from U.S. oil and natural gas facilities. Both companies stressed that, in addition to environmental benefits, the technologies they use can increase profits. Representatives from oil and natural gas companies, such as Gazprom VNIIGAZ, presented information on how companies flare and use associated gases, as well as data on emissions reduction.
On 23-25 April 2012, Allison Costa, with the U.S. EPA's AgSTAR Program, traveled to Denmark to attend the Nordic Biogas Conference. The conference brought together more than 500 participants to learn about biogas production technologies and opportunities as well as the role of renewable gas in future energy markets. Presentations covered biogas utilization, renewable gas markets, and the status of biogas in countries around the world. Ms. Costa spoke about biogas trends in the United States and shared some general information about the AgSTAR Program.
On 15-16 May 2012, Tom Frankiewicz, Program Manager for the U.S. EPA Landfill Methane Outreach Program, traveled to Warsaw, Poland, to attend Biogas Poland 2012 . The conference focused on opportunities and challenges of biogas production at landfills, wastewater treatment plants, and agriculture biogas plants. Poland has set a goal that 14 percent of their energy production will come from renewable energy sources by 2020. Presentations included incentives to stimulate the industry, finance and investment for biogas projects, and agricultural biogas case studies. Mr. Frankiewicz spoke about opportunities and lessons learned through GMI. GMI also had a booth at the event where they shared information about the Initiative.
In March 2012, GMI attended GLOBE 2012 in Vancouver, Canada. The conference brought together more than 9,000 representatives from the public, private, and non-governmental sectors with an interest in sustainability, energy, and the environment. The conference included discussions on the current trends and showcased innovative technologies for the world's environmental problems. GMI staff teamed up with Environment Canada, hosted a booth, and reached out to the private sector, Partner Countries, and Canadians to announce the upcoming GMI Methane Expo 2013. In preparation for Methane Expo 2013, the ASG also met with the Canadian government as well as with organizations and representatives from British Columbia. In addition, they traveled to Nanaimo to visit a potential landfill site tour location for the Expo.