Updated: 11/24/2005; 11:22:26 PM.

Future energy
Renewables, fuel cells, hydrogen, and efficiency

daily link  Sunday, January 02, 2005

Chilean Pigs Cut Emissions, Helps Japan, Canada: "In this case, a Chilean pork producer is eliminating methane fumes from animal waste and selling the resulting "credits" to Japanese and Canadian utilities, requiring that much less of them as they reduce carbon dioxide emissions at their coal- and oil-burning power plants. ..

Industrial pork operations usually collect excrement in pits where it decomposes naturally, emitting methane into the open air. But Chilean food producer AgroSuper, spotting the Kyoto opportunity, installed $30 million in technology to handle the waste of 100,000 pigs, covering pits with vast plastic sheets and drawing off the methane, some to flare, some to use in generators to power farm operations.

Though less prevalent than carbon dioxide, methane is a more potent greenhouse gas. Each ton of contained methane earns AgroSuper some 20 "CERs" - certified emission reductions equivalent to 20 tons of carbon dioxide. The Chilean agribusiness will divide 400,000 CERs per year for nine years between the Japanese and Canadian companies. Wharton estimated this would meet 10 percent of TransAlta's needs for reductions. A credit currently sells on the new European carbon market for about $10...

A firm called CO2e ("carbon dioxide equivalent"), a subsidiary of the New York financial house Cantor Fitzgerald, brokered the AgroSuper deal and is developing another involving Brazilian power plants using sugar cane, a renewable fuel less carbon-heavy than coal or oil. China, meanwhile, is working to qualify more than 500 projects for salable credits.

Environmentalists worry that a flood of questionable projects may win U.N. certification as Kyoto comes into force in 2005... Santiago lawyer Sergio Vives, who helped negotiate the AgroSuper deal, defends it as a real reduction. "It's quite clear they probably wouldn't have gone ahead with this technology" - and methane would still rise into the atmosphere - "without an incentive like the CDM," he said. ..

A Florida-based firm, AgCert, is installing methane-capture technology at 30 pig farms in Brazil. In one Brazilian state alone, Minas Gerais, 3.4 million pigs produce 7 million tons of waste per year - a lot to work with to keep lights burning in the credits-hungry north"

  5:27:12 PM  permalink  

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Copyright 2005 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 11/24/2005; 11:22:26 PM.