While most of the attention is focused on carbon dioxide, atmospheric methane is actually a much more potent greenhouse gas.
Although it makes up a smaller proportion of the atmosphere, methane traps over twenty times more heat per mass unit than carbon dioxide, and global methane concentrations have now increased to their highest level in more than 800,000 years.
Methane reduction offset projects can have a big impact on reducing climate change, but how attractive are these projects for corporate investors?
Social, Environmental and Economic Benefits
Methane offset projects vary according to type. Farm-based projects tackle the methane emissions from animal waste – typically cow or pig manure – using either separation equipment or anaerobic digestion.
Manure separation projects remove the solids from the slurry, preventing the anaerobic decomposition that produces methane when manure is stored and disposed of in the traditional way.
The separation process helps avoid water pollution caused by runoff from manure spreading; reduces the need for farmers to truck their manure long distances, which is costly and time-consuming; and produces a source of bedding material for the farm that is cheaper than sawdust and more comfortable for the animals.
Alternatively, the anaerobic digestion of manure can take place inside a sealed digester. The methane gas (biogas) collected can be burned in a combined heat and power unit, or a standard generator, to create electricity from the waste material.
The electricity produced may be used directly by the farm, thus cutting their operating costs, and/or sold to the local electricity grid to generate additional income.
Greenhouse gas emissions are reduced both by replacing fossil-fuel based grid electricity with renewable energy, and by reducing fugitive emissions of methane from the manure.
Both manure separation and biogas projects benefit small farms and the local agricultural communities around them by improving their economic sustainability and supporting their long-term survival.
A wide range of environmental benefits includes the reduction in nutrient runoff, odor, and pathogens, the replacement of polluting grid-based electricity with renewable energy, and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Who Invests in Methane Offset Projects?
The largest source of methane emissions is the farming sector. Methane reduction offset projects are especially suited to agricultural settings, including dairy farms, where organic matter such as manure is plentiful.
Both manure separation and biogas projects have financial benefits for businesses, since the costs associated with waste processing and disposal are reduced, thus improving economic sustainability as well as environmental performance.
Since small farms often cannot finance the installation of separation or biogas technology themselves, carbon offset projects that provide upfront funding are an ideal way to ensure such projects happen.
Investing in NativeEnergy Help Build™ offsets can accelerate the reduction of farm methane emissions and help businesses demonstrate a commitment to supporting their supply chain, as well as offsetting their own carbon footprint.
Providing Energy for The Future
Biogas is a sustainable solution that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere, when substituted for the use of fossil fuels.
Globally, dairy farming generates substantial quantities of manure that can be used for energy production, to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and support sustainable growth.
Other non-agricultural methane reduction projects include capturing landfill gas, which is composed primarily of methane, and converting it into a reliable source of electricity.
Each of these projects prevents methane gas from entering the atmosphere and contributes to the transition to sustainable, renewable energy.
How Are Methane Reduction Projects Certified?
Methane reduction offset projects must pass the same tests as other carbon offset schemes to ensure that carbon savings are genuine, quantifiable, permanent and additional.
The methodology for measuring carbon equivalent savings will vary depending on the project type, but a rigorous process of third-party validation and verification guarantees they meet internationally recognized carbon standards and demonstrate financial additionality.
Choosing an Experienced Methane Reduction Offset Provider
Methane reduction projects can be complex, but projects such as the Mains Family Farm Project in Newville, Pennsylvania, and the Laurelbrook Farm Compost Project in East Canaan, Connecticut, demonstrate that methane reduction projects can successfully save thousands of tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
NativeEnergy’s offset program provides funding to methane reduction projects that otherwise would not happen. To invest in progressive offsets that support rural economic sustainability and better environmental management, contact us today.