GMI Attends its Second Climate and Clean Air Coalition Working Group Meeting

At the Global Methane Forum last March, GMI officially joined the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) as a non-state partner to ramp up collaboration on methane activities in the oil & gas, MSW, and agriculture sectors. GMI attended its first CCAC Working Group meeting as part of its new official capacity immediately after the Forum, and attended its second Working Group meeting last month in Paris, France. Monica Shimamura, Co-Director of the Administrative Support Group, represented GMI in Paris.

IISD Reporting Services created a useful meeting summary on the sessions, and we want to direct you to pages 8-10 of the summary, which focus on the CCAC Oil & Gas Initiative’s partner presentations and the upcoming High Level Assembly to take place at the Conference of Parties (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco next month. CCAC also posted its own readout with links to presentations and videos – Dr. Drew Shindell’s presentation titled ‘Climate Action – Reducing the Risk for Current and Future Generations’ is embedded below.

GMI will continue to keep stakeholders apprised on its collaboration with formal partners – the next joint meeting is with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane in Geneva, Switzerland on 24 October (register here). Stay tuned!

Methane Gains Traction While New Study Provokes Debate

It’s been quite a busy week for methane – in the past few days the U.S. EPA’s new methane regulations were discussed in the U.S. Congress and the Governor of California signed new legislation to dramatically limit greenhouse gas emissions, particularly methane, in his state.

We’ll have more on the California legislation for you next week! In the meantime, with all that as a back-drop, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences just published a new study which argues that fugitive emissions from fossil fuel activities may be driving recent increases in atmospheric methane concentrations. Previous studies, however, have pointed that finger at agriculture and landfills.

For the full scoop, check out this great Scientific American article.

August News Round-Up

We’re back after an August holiday! On to the latest news…

As you can see from the assortment of links below, much of the August methane news focused on methane emissions from livestock digestion, also known as enteric fermentation. Although enteric fermentation is the world’s largest source of methane emissions, we here at GMI do not cover it due to the difficulties in measuring and recovering it, but we certainly take a keen interest in mitigation developments. Significantly reducing meat consumption (particularly red meat) and demand is the ultimate mitigation solution, but such incentives and policies are not even under consideration at this time (although California has recently proposed regulation). As scientists study the issue in cows, pigs, and even buffalo, stopgap solutions have emerged such as improvements in feed efficiency and high tech backpacks that capture passed cow gas. The backpacks catch and contain almost 300 liters of methane per cow per day – or enough to power a refrigerator for a day.

enteric-bloomberg

In related news, last year Italian dairy farmers opened The Shit Museum, featuring home goods that are made out of a compound of baked manure and clay that they call merdacotta — “baked excrement.” The group of farmers recently won the top prize for their exhibition of merdacotta goods design at this year’s prestigious Milan Design Week. Check out The New York Times’s fascinating profile on merdacotta goods and the farmers’ commitment to zero waste.

NASA has methane on its radar – the prestigious U.S. space organization is studying the “hot spot” of methane emissions in the Four Corners region of the United States leaking from more than 250 oil and gas wells, storage tanks, pipelines, coal mines and other fossil fuel facilities as well as methane released from thawing Arctic permafrost.

Finally, we also recommend this interesting read on why utilities have little incentive to plug methane leaks.

See you next month!

August Methane News Round-Up

 

GMI Calendar – Exciting Upcoming Events

August is a slow month here in hot, sticky Washington, D.C., where your GMI Administrative Support Group (ASG) is based, but more exciting months are ahead. Here’s what’s coming up in September/October:

16th International Symposium and Exhibition on CBM/CMM and Shale Gas in China
12-14 September 2016: Jincheng, China
nios-logoHeld by the National Institute for Occupational Safety (NIOS) and the China Coal Information Institute (CCII), the International Symposium on CBM/CMM and Shale Gas in China is an international communication platform which brings together stakeholders to share experiences and project-oriented solutions to the problem of CBM/CMM development. The Symposium will also consider shale gas policies and development and commercialization strategies.

International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) World Congress
19-21 September 2016Novi Sad, Serbia
How will Southeast Europe reach the standards and goals of waste management set out in the EU directive? We know that countries such as Austria, Sweden, Netherlands and Japan took more than 30 years to reach their current high levels of effective waste management. Can Southeast Europe meets its deadline in a decade? How and at what cost? How will this be financed? Which technologies will be used? What types of laws and regulations are needed to achieve this? How will authorities communicate to citizens the choices before them? What kind of lessons can be learned from the successful or failed attempts of other countries? Which sciences and studies can be applied in the region? These are the topics, challenges and debates expected at ISWA World Congress in Novi Sad in 2016.

Climate and Clean Air Coalition Working Group Meeting
20-21 September 2016: Paris, France
CCAC_logoThe Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) will hold its biannual Working Group Meeting in Paris, following the last Working Group Meeting at the Global Methane Forum. The focus of this Working Group Meeting will be learning more about the progress and impact of CCAC initiatives through interactive sessions. It will also involve discussion and agreement on changes to the CCAC partnership and governance following the work of the Task Team, including changes to streamline the funding process, and preparations for the High Level Assembly (HLA) in Marrakesh on the margins of COP22. A member of the GMI ASG will attend to represent GMI in its new role as non-state Partner. As this meeting is not open to the public, stay tuned for our report on the meeting.

24th World Mining Congress: Mining in a World of Innovation
18-21 October 2016: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
world-mining-congress-logoThe World Mining Congress is a world mining event that takes place every 3 years. The event aims to promote and support, both technically and scientifically, the cooperation for the national and international development of mineral areas and resources, and implement a global information network concerning mineral science, technology, economy, occupational health and safety and environmental protection.

11th Session Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane / GMI Coal Subcommittee Meeting
24-25 October 2016: Geneva, Switzerland
The UNECE Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane (CMM) undertakes and promotes activities aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from coal mines. Apart from its focus on reduction of the carbon footprint of the mining industry, the Group of Experts also works toward the improvement of underground mine safety conditions. Through its activities in the field of methane recovery and use, the Group of Experts helps to reduce the risk of coal mine explosions, and thus helps to save lives and avoid large-scale economic losses.

 

 

May News Round-Up

A mish-mash of methane news this May!

First, a little self-promotion: our own Felicia Ruiz and Raymond C. Pilcher (Raven Ridge) penned a piece on coal bed methane and coal mine methane development in Mongolia for World Coal. Check it out!

There was a lot of attention on cows this month – specifically on their belches, flatulence, and manure that are key sources of methane emissions. We here at GMI advocate capturing the methane from cow manure through anaerobic digestion to use as biogas, but an entrepreneurial Italian took our advice a step further – to use the remaining de-methanated concoction as a raw material to make plaster, bricks and other objects known as merdacotta, or literally, ‘baked poop.’. Meanwhile, scientists in other parts of the world are attempting to tackle methane emissions that result from enteric fermentation, from feeding the cows hops or a compound called 3-nitrooxypropanol to reduce methane emissions from digestion. Indians are taking a different approach by studying miniature Vechur cows for their dairy production needs that release only 10% the level of methane emissions of a normal-sized cow.

The United States made a big announcement: new regulations that will target emissions from new or modified oil and gas wells. The New Republic and Washington Post followed up with analytical think pieces on the importance of methane mitigation and why the impact of methane emissions can be confusing. Vox published an explainer that describes the new U.S. regulations within the larger context of U.S. climate pledges.

Finally, two methane mentions this month outside our usual spectrum: 1) Swedish researchers are developing clothes that would be able to absorb methane from the ambient atmosphere, and 2) Rwanda inaugurated a power plant that uses a natural methane emissions source found in its Lake Kivu.

…Until June!

P.S. If you didn’t see it, the Climate Lab Book created a compellingspiral2016-2 infographic that shows global temperature change since 1850. Worth keeping!

 

May Methane News Round-Up

GMF Presentation Highlights – CSIRO CMM Case Study

In recent weeks, Methane International has continued to feature presentations from the 2016 Global Methane Forum (GMF). Previously, we covered the GMF’s plenary session on China’s Food Waste and Sludge Management Practices, Challenges, and Lessons Learned and a series of new innovative projects piloting Technologies to Quantify Methane Emissions.

Underground CMM Capture and Emission Reduction
Output from CSIRO’s three-dimensional COSFLOW model used to characterize the mine’s structure and hydrology.

This week, we’re highlighting Dr. Hua Guo’s case study on Underground Coal Mine Methane (CMM) Capture and Emission Reduction. Dr. Guo, Coal Mining Research Director for Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), collaborated with staff from Glencore International’s (formerly Xstrata) Bulga Underground Coal Operation outside of Sydney. Studying the Blakefield South Mine, the project team worked to develop a holistic and optimal approach of planning, design and operational control of CMM drainage and ventilation systems to maximize methane capture and minimize fugitive emissions in gassy and multiple seam conditions.

CMM-2D-map
Two-dimensional characterization of the Blakefield Mine site.

After extensively characterizing the mine complex’ hydrogeology and monitoring emissions, the project team used CSIRO’s COSFLOW model, combined with calibrated field studies, to develop a three-dimensional analysis of the mine strata, hydrology and gas to assess key parameters for the site’s gas drainage, and design an optimal gas drainage plan for the site.

The project team implemented a trial demonstration in a longwall mine including a goaf gas drainage system consisting of underground horizontal holes in the roof and floor seams. The trial resulted in improved gas capture performance, increased drainage efficiency, improved mine safety and coal productivity, and increased methane capture and emission reductions. To learn more about this innovative project, see the above presentation link.

CMM-fugitive-generation
Methane captured from the floor lateral holes is used in a 9-megawatt power generation unit.

 

April News Round-Up

On April 22nd (Earth Day), world leaders from 175 countries signed the historic Paris climate accord, drawing attention to some of the world’s most pressing environmental issues – including methane.

The issue of food waste received a lot of attention during the month. According to Reuters, between 30 and 40 percent of food produced around the world is never eaten, because it spoils after harvest and during transportation or is thrown away by shops or consumers. Reuters’ report focused on a new study that concluded up to 14 percent of emissions from agriculture in 2050 could be avoided by managing food use and distribution better. The Washington Post also described different countries’ efforts to target this problem, from a bill in the UK that proposes targets for manufacturers and distributors to reduce certain food waste to an effort in California to change the wording on the expiration dates on packaged food to prevent consumers from throwing away products that are still safe to eat. Meanwhile, two articles detail anaerobic digestion projects in Colorado, USA and northwestern England that capture methane emissions from food waste.

Another big story was the upward revision of methane emissions from the oil & gas sector in the United States, surpassing ruminant livestock as the largest source of methane emissions. As the Aliso Canyon methane leak demonstrated, one of the greatest hurdles to reducing methane emissions is plugging leaks in the storage tanks, pipes, and other equipment that drillers use to extract and transport oil and gas. A Washington Post story delves in depth on whether the rise of U.S. methane emissions can be attributed to the oil & gas sector, featuring the Climate and Clean Air Coalition’s Drew Shindell. In northern Texas, so-called ‘methane sleuths’ have taken the initiative to monitor emissions from oil and gas drilling in the area.

Finally, Canada’s Global News reports on why it’s so critical to capture methane from coal mines – don’t forget to view the video.

April Methane News Round-Up