Burning methane creates……CO2!
SO in an attempt to find something to “Offset” the carbon released in California’s industry, there is a buch opf folks who buy and sell “carbon offsets”….HERE is an example of one such scheme.
At first glance it sounds good….: Generate electricity from what is, essentially a waste product from a Dairy… Free electricity! electricity that doesn’t come from coal! And it is as true as saying that an electric car is a zero emissions form of transportation…..(hint, it isn’t)
Now, the issues here are severalfold:
On the one hand, they are reducing the methane evaporated into the atmosphere, which is a good thing (if you believe in global warming), as methane is about 8 times the greenhouse gas that CO2 is.
On the other hand, that engine that is driving the generator is putting CO2 out into the atmosphere at about 3 times the rate per megawatt that a coal plant would…in other words, a coal plant puts out about 1/3 the CO2 per megawatt that this engine does.
Is this a carbon offset? Not by any way you can easily measure. The generator is producing CO2 at a higher rate than a coal plant per watt of electricity. It isn’t reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, in fact, it is likely adding to it. It MAY be reducing the greenhouse gas effect, by subsituting water vapor and CO2 for methane (but that is likely a wash).
This is a scam. Period. No significant reduction in any greenhouse effect (if any) and yet, someone is making money selling this as a “carbon offset”.
But hey, it makes someone feel good and the farmer gets to be happpy and make a bit of cash.