�Methane to Markets' report indicates growth

By Ron Kotrba
The U.S. EPA released its third annual Methane to Markets report in November, in which the agency documented global partnerships that resulted in the reduction of methane emissions from coal mines, oil and gas systems, agriculture, and landfills. The report also stated that in 2005 global methane production from livestock manure that could be used for anaerobic digestion totaled approximately 230 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

The EPA's current work in reducing methane emissions from global agricultural industries includes reducing swine farm methane emissions in three provinces near Bangkok, Thailand. The agency is also partnering with the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture to expand the number of village-scale digesters in rural China, and helping to provide technical training to villagers. Similar efforts are expected in Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and Korea. In India, the EPA is helping to deploy digesters in the dairy sector, and in the wine and distillery industries. Instances of livestock manure discharging directly into surface waters still occurs in Mexico, where the EPA said it's helping to advance anaerobic digestion technology through collaboration with Mexico's environmental agency that will develop demonstration projects and raise awareness.

In the report, the EPA stated the U.S. has been a leader in the recovery of landfill gas and is leveraging that leadership by helping the global community get up to speed. Projects of varying stages in Ecuador, Ukraine, Brazil, China, Colombia, Korea, India and elsewhere are benefiting from the Methane to Markets partnerships. The EPA is also partnering with the International Energy Agency. The team developed a case study, titled "Turning a Liability Into an Asset: Landfill Methane Utilization Potential in India." The agency stated that India is transitioning from open dumps to more managed landfills, and new Indian landfills should consider landfill gas management and capture as part of the design. "In order to launch a landfill gas energy industry in India, the study recommended utilities should offer green power premium pricing for landfill-gas-generated electricity, and landfills should take advantage of existing government subsidies for landfill gas energy," the Methane to Markets report stated.

All told, when current Methane to Markets projects are fully implemented, the EPA estimated it will result in the annual reduction of methane emissions by more than 24 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, tripling the reductions achieved in 2006. The partnership now includes 27 governments and more than 800 private sector entities, financial institutions, nongovernmental agencies and other organizations.