Methane from Space, and Happy Birthday to MI!

Happy 1st Anniversary to the Methane International blog, which premiered on July 20, 2015! We hope you have found this format to be useful in learning about the latest GMI, methane, and climate news. The invitation from our first post still stands – please feel free to submit entries with our MI Article Submission Form!

This week we’d like to feature work from our American partner National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Earth Observatory blog. In March, they published a fantastic post chock full of charts and graphs on why methane matters and scientists’ work to quantify the effects of methane emissions. The March post features:

We especially enjoyed the handy charts and graphs, such as this useful graph with projections:

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(credit: NASA)

In a follow-up post this month, NASA rounded up the results of current methane studies. This post explains the following in plain language:

  • Why the agricultural sector (rice and livestock production) is likely the culprit of recent methane concentration increases;
  • How the U.S. has played an outsized role in global methane emissions increases; and
  • The role of satellites in the future of quantifying methane emissions.

We hope you will continue to return to the Methane International Blog as your one-stop shop on all methane news and global emission reduction activities!

 

June News Round-Up

June was a somewhat quiet month in methane-related news, so let’s start with some shameless promotion of friends:

First, Scientific American profiled how a Chinese company, TOVEN, creatively turned the city of Xiangyang’s sewage sludge problem into an opportunity. (See our re-blog and trip dispatch too).

Second, our friend, and a supporter of the Global Methane Forum in March, GHGSat, launched its satellite technology designed to measure the carbon dioxide and methane emissions leaking from Alberta’s sprawling tar sands operations, and eventually fossil fuel operations anywhere. We look forward to following GHGSat’s results!

Perhaps the biggest news of the month came from our friends Canada and Mexico which held the ‘Three Amigos’ summit along with the United States in Ottawa, Canada. These three GMI Partner Countries committed to an ambitious goal of North America generating at least 50 percent of its energy from “clean” sources by 2025. As part of the new partnership, Mexico also will agree to join Canada and the United States in decreasing methane emissions.

In other news, researchers from Oxford University pointed out the flaws of measuring the effects of methane in terms of carbon dioxide equivalent, and suggested a new way to measure methane that highlights the considerable differences in how each gas contributes to warming.

Finally, a new study names several American oil & gas companies as the largest methane emissions culprits, citing their aggregate emissions to be the equivalent of running seven coal-fired power plants for a year. Relatedly, NASA released images taken from space of the massive Aliso Canyon methane leak.

See you at the end of July!

 

June Methane News Round-Up

 

GMI to Attend to UK AD & Biogas 2016

show2016exhibitor728x90_animThe Global Methane Initiative will be exhibiting at the United Kingdom’s Anaerobic Digestion & Biogas 2016 (UK AD & Biogas 2016, or ADBA)  on 6 and 7 July in Birmingham, UK.

This event will bring together the world’s leading international technology and product suppliers under one roof, along with some of the most engaging and knowledgeable minds in the industry. For more information, visit their website or check out this great video about the conference:

The event will be an exciting time for everyone involved in our industry. In addition to the Trade Show, there is a 2-day conference and seminar program, with speakers from across the globe discussing broad topics as well as practical ‘how-to’ sessions that will help everyone run their businesses more effectively.

We’ll be posting more information about the agenda and speakers in the coming weeks until the conference. In the meantime, registration is still open, and the conference is free to attend. If you can make it, don’t forget to visit GMI’s booth: stand C604!

 

GMI Visits Biogas Facilities in China

Earlier this week we shared a post by a blogger in China about a sludge-to-energy project that GMI supports. As it turns out, GMI Municipal Solid Waste Subcommittee Chair Tom Frankiewicz – among other staff – was recently in China, working on a host of biogas projects (including that one). Check out below some photos from sites on his itinerary!

Liumingying Biogas Supply Plant

china1-3Started in 1991, the Liumingying Biogas Supply Plant uses chicken manure in anaerobic digesters to create biogas that is supplied to seven nearby villages for cooking gas. The villages maintain the biogas plant operations, and each household receives a cooktop for using the biogas to prepare meals.

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Tom and Dr. Heinz-Peter Mang, biogas technical expert, inspect tanks used to store biogas for distribution to the villages (above). The biogas plant also uses digestate to produce compost that is used in agriculture (below).

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Beijing Century Green Environmental Engineering & Technology Ltd. (CGEET)

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Tour of the GCEET sludge treatment and utilization plant. Treated sludge is turned into compost that is used in urban landscaping.

 

CANFIT Resource Recovery

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Tom and delegates from Senegal observe a model of the CANFIT Resource Recovery facility located in Beijing. Mr. J.C. Yu, President of CANFIT, explains how waste products like sludge and discarded organic waste are turned into beneficial products (i.e., compost, biogas, biochar, biodiesel and biomethane) for sale to customers. The facility serves over 4 million inhabitants and plans are underway for expansion of the facility to accept more discarded waste for use in beneficial products.

Global Methane Forum Presentations – China Waste Session

Over the coming weeks Methane International will feature presentations from the 2016 Global Methane Forum. First out of the gate is a set of presentations from the plenary session China’s Food Waste and Sludge Management Practices, Challenges, and Lessons Learned held on 29 March 2016. This session provided presentations and a panel discussion about current practices, challenges, and lessons learned for managing organic waste in China.

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Panel members at the discussion following the session’s presentations. Left to right: Ms. Lijin Zhong of the World Resources Institute; Mr. Zhang Yue, Director General of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development; and Mr. Tom Frankiewicz,  U.S. EPA and chair of GMI’s Municipal Solid Waste Subcommittee.

Mr. Zhang Yue, Director General of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development

Director-General Zhang delivered a keynote address highlighting organic waste management challenges and successes in China. His talk introduced the audience to the state of affairs of waste management in China, setting the stage for the sector-specific presentations that followed. DG Zhang closed his remarks with a vision for “greening” Chinese cities through low carbon waste practices. He emphasized the connection between urban municipal solid waste and wastewater treatment and methane emissions and the opportunities for reducing these emissions in China.

 

Sing (Terry) Cho, Senior Water & Sanitation Specialist with the World Bank

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Terry Cho presenting on the World Bank’s recent projects around wastewater management in Chinese urban areas.

Terry presented the results of a recently completed project on urban wastewater sewage sludge management in China, and summarized international best practices in sludge management. Currently, China mostly lacks advanced sludge management treatment but conditions are favorable for the introduction of new technologies and practices, particularly anaerobic digestion, and especially if incorporated into urban management plans. Terry closed by outlining some of the components of the World Bank’s recommended guidelines for developing an effective sludge management master plan for China.

 

 

Lijin Zhong, China Water Lead, and Vijay Jagannathan, Senior Fellow, with the World Resources Institute

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The World Resources Institute’s Vijay Jagannathan presenting sludge-to-energy case studies.

Lijin and Vijay highlighted the importance of viewing waste as a resource and highlighted successful case studies of organic sludge-to-energy projects in China. Presentation and summary coming soon!

 

Li Yong, International Marketing Manager with Bioland Group

Li offered a private sector perspective on the challenges and opportunities for food waste management in China. She started with a general overview of the food waste market in China: the country currently produces more than 30 million tonnes of food waste per year, of which only about 30% is recycled. Food waste management faces several challenges in China, such as safe collection and sorting practices, frequent disconnect with local authorities, and a lack of new technology and efficient management systems. She highlighted as a case study example the new Bioland Food Waste Treatment Project in Nanning, China. Fully cooperating with municipal authorities to ensure a steady waste stream, the new project utilizes state-of-the-art technology to ensure efficient organic waste sorting, recycling, and anaerobic digestion of more than 200 tonnes of food waste per day, and produces biogas-upgraded compressed natural gas, fertilizer, and clean water.

#GMF2016 Day 2: Methane Policies and Re-charter Ceremony

Hello again from the Global Methane Forum conference site at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.! We had an incredibly successful concluding day of the Global Methane Initiative portion of this week’s proceedings.

The morning session on country-level methane policies featured the approach of five countries toward methane policy, with representatives:

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Breakout of SCLP policy measures and best practices.
  • Canada: Mike Beale, Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Stewardship Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada;
  • Colombia: Eduardo Sanchez, Climate Change Advisor, Ministry of Mines and Energy;
  • Mexico: Maria Amparo Martínez, Institute of Ecology and Climate Change;
  • Philippines: Emmanuel de Guzman, Secretary of Climate Change, Climate Change Commission; and
  • United States: Rick Duke, Deputy Director for Climate Policy, White House Office of Energy and Climate Change.

The key take-away from the policy session was that policies to mitigate methane are not one-size-fits-all, and depend upon the key methane sources in each country and the various levels of government’s willingness and capacity to address these sources.

Following the policy roundtable, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched its latest methane-focused voluntary effort in the oil & gas sector, the Methane Challenge. The Methane Challenge will provide partner companies with a platform to make company-wide commitments to cut emissions from sources within their operations by implementing a suite of best management practices within 5 years. Representatives from 41 companies from across the value chain participated in the ceremony with EPA Acting Assistant Administrator in the Office of Air, Janet McCabe.

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U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy delivering a keynote presentation at the Global Methane Forum. 

After the Methane Challenge launch, participants were treated to a keynote by the passionate, feisty EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy. Administrator McCarthy spoke about the value of methane mitigation in terms of environmental, health, and economic benefits, and how voluntary partnerships like GMI play an integral role.

 

“So much of our success to date has been possible because of the leadership and cooperation of the international community. When it comes to global challenges like climate change, partnerships and collaborations that can bridge national interests and bring us together are really the core, essential, ingredient for success,” she said.

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Finally – the event we here at GMI had been awaiting – GMI’s Re-charter ceremony that officially extends GMI’s charter by a further 5 years, and formalizes new alliances with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The ceremony featured speeches from GMI, CCAC, and UNECE by Joe Goffman, Associate Administrator and Senior Counsel, Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. EPA; Rita Cerutti, Director, Multilateral Affairs, Environment and Climate Change Canada and Co-chair, CCAC Working Group; and Christian Friis Bach, Executive Secretary, UNECE, respectively.

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Following another afternoon of intense sector-focused technical and policy sessions in the biogas, coal mines, and oil & gas sectors, participants finally got to indulge in some socializing and networking at the official reception hosted by the U.S. State Department. We would like to thank supporters FLSmidth and GHGSat for their assistance in providing libations to all Forum participants at this reception.

Thank you to our 500+ participants of the Global Methane Forum! Presentations from the sessions will be available in a few weeks on our website. Stay posted to our Twitter account for the latest happenings during the rest of the week. Moving on to the CCAC Science & Policy Dialogue today…

#GMF2016 Day 1: Importance of Methane Mitigation and Methane Project Financing

Hello from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., USA, where we have just completed the first morning plenary session of the Global Methane Forum! We had a packed house of methane mitigation enthusiasts ready to discover the importance of mitigating methane as part of a near- and long-term strategy for implementing the COP21 goal of limiting global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

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A packed house before the first Plenary Session of the 2016 Global Methane Forum. Photo credit: Christopher Voell, Director of the U.S. EPA’s AgSTAR program and Co-Chair of GMI’s Agriculture Subcommittee.

The first session kicked off with a talk by GMI Steering Committee Chair & Acting Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Janet McCabe on methane’s critical role as a short-term climate forcer and the global cooperative efforts on its mitigation, including the Global Methane Initiative. She also detailed U.S. domestic plans for methane mitigation in the oil & gas sector, including the recent announcement with the government of Canada. Her talk was followed by a complementary discussion on the outcomes of COP21 and the implications of future methane work by the U.S. State Department’s Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change, Karen Florini. Ms. Florini also acts as a key player in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), the co-host of the Forum.

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In a panel of technical experts on coal mine methane, Scott Foster of the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Europe called for increased international cooperation. Photo credit: GMI project staff.

As the policymakers exited the stage, the scientists entered – CCAC’s Climate Advisory Panel scientists Dr. Johan Kuylenstierna, Deputy Director, Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York, and Dr. Drew Shindell, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University. In a ‘tag team’ talk, Dr. Kuylenstierna and Dr. Shindell explained the far-reaching impacts of methane emissions not only as a climate forcer, but on air quality as well – which negatively impacts human health, agricultural crop yields, etc.

The final session of the morning featured a roundtable moderated by Dianne Rudo, during which the speakers detailed varying approaches to methane project financing, including:

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Steven Wan speaking on financing Ventilation Air Methane (VAM) projects after the collapse of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Photo Credit: GMI project staff.
  • Steven Wan, Fortman (Beijing) Clean Technology Co., Ltd., discussed establishing a public-private partnership with SinoSteel to finance coal mine methane projects.
  • Scott Cantor, Carbon Finance Specialist, World Bank described the World Bank’s new innovative, award-winning climate finance mechanism, the Pilot Auction Facility, based on providing a price guarantee for methane projects via auctioning put options.
  • Samuel Tumiwa, Deputy Regional Director, Asian Development Bank, outlined approaches to climate project financing in Asia, including smaller scale, easily replicated loans used to add biogas digesters to existing projects.
  • Laurence Blandford, Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP), presented on his recently-published CCAP paper on converting COP21 INDCs into action. The major takeaway: publishing a country INDC investment strategy.
  • Bob Ichord, Ichord Ventures, LLC, discussed improving enabling environments for mitigating methane emissions from the oil & gas sector. As he noted, oil and gas production will not cease anytime soon, so we must deal with the emissions.

All in all, a successful morning. Stay tuned to our Twitter page for live updates, and please check our website in a few weeks for presentation materials from this morning.