Methane International

Issue 24, June 2011

Subcommittee Updates

The Global Methane Initiative's (GMI's) Administrative Support Group (ASG) convened all four subcommittees via webinars earlier this month. This was the ASG's first use of virtual meetings to encourage greater participation by both delegates and Project Network members. Webinar participants are encouraged to contact ASG or Subcommittee chairs with opinions on the success of the webinars.

Additionally, the ASG provided an update on new Partner Countries and discussed draft guidance that was recently distributed for development of GMI Partner Action Plans (see Moving Forward with GMI Partner Action Plans). Details for each webinar are highlighted below.

The GMI Agriculture Subcommittee meeting took place on 14 June 2011. The webinar was attended by nearly 20 participants, with several applauding the webinar format. Topics discussed included an update on international collaboration and the availability of the Agriculture Subcommittee Co-Chair position. Additionally, the international database of anaerobic digestion systems was discussed; it is anticipated to go online later this year. Other agenda items included possible future work of the Subcommittee and ideas to increase country and Project Network participation, including a potential webinar on ways Project Network members can better participate in GMI.

Presentations as well as the audio recording are posted on the Agriculture Subcommittee Web page.

Coal Mines
The Coal Mines Subcommittee held its webinar on 20 June 2011 and was attended by more than 30 participants. Partner Countries, including Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, and the United States, reported on projects that are completed or are in development since the last Subcommittee meeting in October 2010, relevant policy changes, and provided an overview of activities planned for the rest of 2011. In addition, Ray Pilcher with Project Network member Raven Ridge Resources provided an update on the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe's activities to disseminate information from the Best Practice Guidance for Effective Methane Drainage and Use in Coal Mines (PDF, 86 pp, 1.8 MB). Exiting Global Methane Initiative It was also noted during the webinar that a draft paper addressing flaring of drained coal mine methane and a draft update to the technology database (PDF, 14 pp, 122K) will be available soon. The ASG will distribute the materials and request feedback from the Subcommittee when available. Attendees also discussed the agenda for the next Subcommittee meeting, and anyone interested in assisting with development of the agenda for technical sessions should email the ASG at

Presentations will be posted on the Coal Mines Subcommittee Web page within the next few weeks.

Save the Date for the GMI Partnership-Wide Meeting

Krakow, Poland

The ASG is pleased to announce the 2011 GMI Partnership-Wide Meeting will be held 12-14 October 2011 in Krakow, Poland. The event will include sector-specific site tours, plenary sessions, technical and policy sessions, a Steering Committee meeting, and countless networking opportunities. GMI is grateful to the government of Poland for hosting this important meeting. Registration and agendas will be available soon on GMI's website.

The Landfill Subcommittee met on 1 June 2011. The webinar, attended by nearly 30 participants, included a discussion of the new outreach activities that promote the expanded GMI scope of methane abatement and wastewater sectors. In addition to these administrative updates, each delegate identified their priority methane abatement technologies (e.g., composting, anaerobic digestion, and waste-to-energy) and ongoing or planned abatement activities in their country, as well as a needs assessment (e.g., development of abatement technology white papers or fact sheets). This information will be used to tailor the scope of the subcommittee and to develop a guidance document to help countries evaluate appropriate technologies.

In closing, the Co-Chairs updated delegates on recent outreach activities planned for the wastewater sector and solicited volunteers to assist with peer review of the International Landfill Gas Project Best Practices Guide. The U.S. Co-Chair announced that U.S. EPA will soon issue a new call for proposals for its annual GMI grant solicitation and anticipates an expanded scope to include wastewater, abatement capacity building, site assessments, and inventories in GMI Partner Countries.

Presentations and the audio recording are posted on the Landfill Subcommittee Web page.

Oil and Gas
The Oil and Gas Subcommittee met on 15 June 2011 and was attended by nearly 20 participants. Partner Countries Canada, India, Mexico, and the United States provided brief updates on relevant activities in which they had been involved since the last Subcommittee meeting. These updates included a discussion of issues or barriers preventing methane emission reduction projects in their country. Participants also discussed how their country engages in other international initiatives, seeking to describe how GMI fits within a country's priorities and how it could be improved to meet their needs. There was initial discussion with Subcommittee and Project Network members to identify a work product that members would be willing to develop and support. This topic will be discussed further at the next Subcommittee meeting.

The ASG presented their ideas on the next Subcommittee meeting format and solicited ideas for the technical and policy sessions. Several potential agenda topics were put forth during the webinar. Everyone is encouraged to send topics of interest for discussion at the next meeting to the ASG at

Webinar proceedings and the audio recording are posted on the Oil and Gas Subcommittee Web page.

Spotlight on Brazil

Related GMI Efforts in Brazil

Brazil, a GMI charter member since 2004, has several ongoing GMI efforts to capture and use LFG. In April, Chris Godlove, a GMI representative from U.S. EPA, travelled to Brazil to meet local officials, learn about specific projects, and research potential applications for landfill technologies. In June, he also spoke at the International Seminar on Sustainable Wastewater Treatment Operation, held in Brazil. The presentation (Spanish only) (PDF, 26 pp, 1.1 MB) included details from a paper recently released on wastewater technologies.

Similarly, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, a 2009 GMI grant recipient, is continuing its work to create a regulatory toolkit that will foster the adoption of LFG recovery and use within the Brazilian waste sector.

Brazil Develops Community-Based LFG Projects
In 2009, a team from Appalachian State University (ASU) Energy Center, a multi-disciplinary program in Boone, North Carolina, United States that conducts energy research and activities, began looking for rural communities outside the United States that would benefit from their experience and strategies for sustainable economic development. With funding from a 2009 GMI grant, a team led by Stan Steury and Jeff Ramsdell began collaborating with local officials in the arid northeast region of Ceará, Brazil to identify sites well suited for community-based landfill gas (LFG) economic development opportunities. While most cities ship their garbage out of view, some Brazilians make a living combing through landfills to find recyclables to sell. With a statewide population of 8.4 million people and approximately 12,000 catadores ("waste pickers"), Ceará is no exception.

The team from ASU began to research the potential for recovering LFG, focusing on energy and community needs. ASU faculty and students brought hands-on experience from facilitating community-based LFG energy projects in rural communities within North Carolina. ASU believed that rural areas in Brazil could also benefit from their experience in utilizing LFG as an inexpensive and clean source of local energy. Both share the need for cheap and reliable energy sources to provide jobs, economic opportunities for small businesses, improved quality of life, and environmental protection.

The timing of the project is ideal, as government officials in Ceará aim to transition toward sanitary landfills. The ASU team toured seven landfills for potential economic development opportunities. Based on the potential for LFG projects and interest by local officials, the team selected the Maracanaú Landfill as their pilot project for LFG development. Based upon preliminary models, the landfill is estimated to reduce 56,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E) per year, as well as produce 850 cubic meters per hour of LFG, with the potential for more as waste is added. During their time in Brazil, the team formed close relationships with local officials, five of whom visited North Carolina in June 2010 to tour successful LFG energy projects.

Catadores at the Maracanaú Landfill. Catadores at the Maracanaú Landfill.

Technology Transfer to Catadores
At the Maracanaú Landfill, the collection and trade of recyclable materials supports 75 families. After seeing the area and meeting the local people, the ASU team felt that assisting the catadores was an important goal. In addition to the LFG benefits, the project hopes to earn revenue from the sale of recycled materials as well as the sale of carbon credits. To help raise funds, ASU students collected more than $2,000 from a showing of Waste Land Exiting Global Methane Initiative, a documentary film about the artist Vik Muniz, to give to the catadores. The film shows the life of catadores at Jardim Gramacho, the world's largest landfill located outside Rio de Janeiro, where nearly 3,000 catadores pick 200 tons of recyclable materials every day.

Throughout the process, GMI staff has provided technical support to overcome hurdles. The ASU team has developed a conceptual plan for a sorting facility in Ceará, using technology that is inexpensive, dependable, and easily maintained and repaired. For example, a modified automobile engine may be used to generate electricity, instead of a large reciprocating engine, to ensure access to spare parts as well as local repair expertise. In addition to using the LFG for electricity, the project in Maracanaú is exploring industrial uses, such as a plastic manufacturing facility, using recycled materials collected by the “catadores.”

U.S. EPA anticipates that it will be able to provide funding to ASU to complete the second phase of planning and design, as well as to investigate the potential for other solid waste management systems. In addition to this, ASU is seeking other funds to construct the LFG collection system. By transferring personal expertise as well as technology, the team from ASU hopes they can deliver sustainable business options to turn garbage into a revenue stream for local residents. For more information, review Stan Steury's presentation from the 2011 U.S. EPA Landfill Methane Outreach Program's Conference (PDF, 31 pp, 1.8 MB) Exiting Global Methane Initiative.

Available Soon: Grants for Activities to Advance Methane Recovery and Use

U.S. EPA intends to issue a grant solicitation in late July or early August 2011 to fund projects and activities that support GMI. Through this upcoming solicitation, U.S. EPA expects to award cooperative agreements ranging from $100,000 to $750,000 per award, for up to a total of $5 million.

Successful proposals will support the Initiative's goal to advance project development in five major interest areas: agriculture (manure management), coal mining, landfills, oil and gas systems, and wastewater. Organizations eligible for this grant include:

The project period for awards is expected to be July 2012 through July 2015. Information will be posted soon on U.S. EPA's Global Methane Initiative website Exiting Global Methane Initiative. GMI will also send out an email announcement once available. To be added to the mailing list, please contact the ASG.

Moving Forward with GMI Partner Action Plans

In October 2010, the Steering Committee agreed on the need for overarching GMI Partner Action Plans and tasked the ASG with developing guidance. As stated in the Terms of Reference, "Action plans can be useful tools in advancing project implementation, facilitating investment, and creating appropriate policy frameworks that support methane abatement, recovery, and use." The goals of the GMI Partner Action Plans include:

GMI is hopeful that the development of Partner Action Plans will help drive current and future project development activity in all four sectors. The ASG distributed draft guidance to all country delegates for review—and is now compiling comments with a goal of providing final guidance for Steering Committee approval at the October Steering meeting in Krakow, Poland. If you are a delegate and did not receive this draft guidance, or have any questions, please contact the ASG.

Mexican LFG Energy Project Becomes Operational

Mexico's President Felipe Calderón (center) was joined by Mexican officials to celebrate the opening of an LFG utilization project at the Ciudad Juárez Landfill. Mexico's President Felipe Calderón (center) was joined by Mexican officials to celebrate the opening of an LFG utilization project at the Ciudad Juárez Landfill.

On 20 May 2011, Mexican officials, including the President of Mexico, celebrated the opening of an LFG utilization project at the Ciudad Juárez Landfill in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. The project, supported by GMI, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by capturing the methane and using it to generate electricity that will feed into the national power grid. The project provides a model for a sustainable approach for governments to better manage landfills and comply with environmental standards. Another benefit was the employment opportunities generated from its construction and in the operation and maintenance of the system.

Sources: Eco2data, Ciudad Juárez Landfill Gas to Energy Project Exiting Global Methane Initiative; Presidencia de la República, "El Presidente Calderón Durante La Inauguración de la Planta Biogas de Juárez (Spanish only)," Exiting Global Methane Initiative 20 May 2011.

GMI Outreach

GMI Webinar on Project Financing Options

On 13 April 2011, GMI held a webinar about potential methane emission project financing options available from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) Exiting Global Methane Initiative. As the United States' development finance institution, OPIC works with the U.S. private sector in over 150 countries to gain footholds in emerging markets and catalyze revenues, jobs, and growth opportunities at home and abroad. With an increased focus on renewable energy, OPIC has recently launched a series of major initiatives, including a call for proposals from private equity funds through which OPIC will provide at least $300 million in financing to support investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and the sustainable utilization of natural resources.

Below are a few activities GMI has been engaged in to promote methane use and recovery.

Upcoming Outreach Activities

Recent Developments and Resources

New Partnership Supports GMI in the Solid Waste Sector

On 1 June 2011, U.S. EPA and ISWA launched a joint effort to collaborate on public health, climate, and energy issues as outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding (PDF, 6 pp, 86 KB) Exiting Global Methane Initiative. The announcement was made during the "Solid Waste Treatment and Disposal: Leading Edge Technologies" conference in Russia. EPA's partnership with ISWA will allow increased access to professional networks and technical expertise, as well as provide opportunities for information exchange in the solid waste sector through GMI.

The development of a standard approach for developing action plans and protocols for quantified emission reductions will reduce obstacles for cities to access funding to implement greenhouse gas emission reduction activities. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton applauded the agreement and provided as an example that capturing methane from landfills as a power source "would solve a public health problem, give massive amounts of land back to cities...[and] would put huge numbers of people back to work."

Sources: C40 Cities, "C40 and World Bank Form Groundbreaking Climate Change Action Partnership," Exiting Global Methane Initiative 1 June 2011; Alexei Barrionuevo, "World Bank to Help Cities Control Climate Change," Exiting Global Methane Initiative The New York Times, 1 June 2011.

Global Methane Initiative (GMI)
Leading methane action since 2004