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Mexico Wastewater Biogas Recovery Initiative 

In Mexico, government agencies with jurisdiction and responsibility in wastewater treatment are collaborating with the Global Methane Initiative (GMI) at three different levels to reduce methane emissions from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) including: 1) Federal level, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) and BANOBRAS, the local infrastructure development bank; 2) state level as each state has its own Water Commission; and 3) municipal level because the municipalities operate WWTPs. The objective of this collaboration is to analyze the potential for biogas recovery and utilization in the municipal wastewater treatment sector. This work includes technical analyses, benchmarking against international norms and best practices, identification of the cost-effectiveness of biogas recovery, developing policy recommendations, promoting financing of infrastructure required, and supporting technical training of WWTP operators.

In support of this effort, the following actions are being undertaken in 2019:

Executive Meeting: The convening of a half-day meeting of high-level decision-makers to review existing knowledge and activities in wastewater biogas production and utilization and present current efforts in the municipal wastewater sector. International experiences will be presented to contribute to a better understanding of what may be possible in Mexico. Financing opportunities also will be presented. This meeting will take place in Mexico City on 8 May 2019.

Prefeasibility Studies: A technical team from Mexico and GMI will carry out technical and economic pre-feasibility studies at two selected wastewater treatment plants representative of the WWTP sector in Mexico. Work has started at the Monclova WWTP in Coahuila and the Atapaneo plant near Morelia, Michoacan, focusing on the technologies and costs of methane capture and utilization. In addition, a desk study will be prepared to support current efforts by the Naucalpan WWTP in Mexico to incorporate biogas capture into their WWTP rehabilitation plans. Results will be presented at each plant, and incorporated into the Technical Training Workshop described below.

Technical Training Workshop: A workshop for WWTP operators will focus on the techniques and technologies for biogas recovery, and preliminary costs for such designs. The workshop will be based on international best practices in the context of the WWTP sector in Mexico, and will include the results of the pre-feasibility studies and the desk study described above. Calculation exercises will assist in underlining key technical parameters. Project financing opportunities also will be presented. The Technical Training Workshop will be held in Mexico City on 22 May 2019.

Representatives at three levels of government (federal, state and municipal) are collaborating with GMI, as well as NGOs promoting renewable energy and biogas, academia, and the private sector.

Expected Outcomes

Preparation and distribution of a report that will document the results of the technical and economic pre-feasibility studies; the report will focus on the technologies and costs of methane capture and utilization at two representative WWTPs in Mexico.

Building in-country capacity in biogas based on participation of WWTP operators and other stakeholders in a technical training workshop. Participants will gain knowledge about the techniques and technologies for biogas recovery, and preliminary costs for such designs, which will increase the likelihood of biogas use from WWTPs.

Increased awareness of the potential for biogas use from WWTPs by sharing technical expertise at an executive meeting of high-level decision-makers to review existing financing opportunities, technical knowledge and activities in biogas production and utilization, and present current efforts in the municipal wastewater sector.