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Generating and Selling Carbon Offset Credits

[+] Author Affiliations
Michael Van Brunt

Covanta Energy Corporation, Morristown, NJ

Brigitte Kantor

Lee County Solid Waste Division, Fort Myers, FL

Nate Johnson

Public Utilities Dept., Hillsborough County BOCC, Tampa, FL

Paper No. NAWTEC20-7048, pp. 159-165; 7 pages
  • 20th Annual North American Waste-to-Energy Conference
  • 20th Annual North American Waste-to-Energy Conference
  • Portland, Maine, USA, April 23–25, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: Materials and Energy Recovery Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4483-0
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


New energy from waste capacity is eligible to generate carbon offsets based on a Clean Development Mechanism offset methodology through the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). To date, two facilities in North America have progressed through the carbon offset generation process, successfully validating and verifying their projects in accordance with the standard. The Lee County facility began generating carbon offsets with the 2007 emissions year, and the Hillsborough County facility has verified carbon offsets beginning with the 2009 emissions year. The credits are associated with the avoidance of landfill methane and displaced grid-connected fossil fuel electricity generation. Due to extensive conservatism on the part of the CDM methodology, approximately 0.15–0.3 tons of credits are generated per ton of waste processed, depending on the specific operation generating the offsets. This is in contrast to an overall net lifecycle greenhouse gas reduction of approximately 1 ton of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) per ton of waste processed relative to the business as usual practice of landfilling. More realistic methodologies could generate offset credits at a rate approaching the life cycle benefits. However, even with the current methodology, the energy from waste carbon market could exceed 800 thousand metric tonnes per year, with a value of $1.6–$3 million a year, based on current voluntary carbon offset pricing.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME
Topics: Carbon



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