Eco initiatives we have supported this month
Using waste biomass to produce electricity in Chile
Energy production in Chile has been historically dominated by fossil fuels, with over 70% of total primary energy supplied by coal, oil or gas, despite the country’s relatively low fossil fuel resources.
In recent years, however, Chile has become known as a leader in renewable energy development – making great strides in geothermal, solar and wind energy, and other “Non-Conventional Renewable Energy (NCRE)” sources, as defined in Chilean law. Sources like biomass power, biogas and waste-to-energy (also categorised as NCREs) have also been developed and scaled up in Chile to help decrease the country’s reliance on fossil fuels.
Biomass power is considered a ‘bridging solution’ – allowing waste products to be used to generate power as an alternative to high-emitting fossil fuels, whilst we scale up capacity for solar, wind and other types of renewables to accommodate our global energy needs.
Visit Ecologi to find out more
Protecting old-growth rainforest in Peru
Madre de Dios is the third-largest, and least densely populated, region of Peru. It is home to much of the Peruvian Amazon.
The region has historically been subject to numerous conservation challenges. These include extraction of the rich natural resources in the area – including rubber, timber, and alluvial gold. In 2011, the completion of the Trans-Oceanic Highway – linking Peru to Brazil – presented further challenges to the conservation efforts in the region, dramatically expanding the nearby town of Puerto Maldonado, and producing an uptick in illegal logging in the region, in areas nearby to the highway.
The local community is reliant on the old-growth rainforest, but protecting it from degradation and deforestation activities has been a challenge. Supporting the community to both safeguard the rainforest and to establish sustainable sources of income are therefore top priorities in the region.
The Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa) tree is one of the largest and longest-lived trees found in the Amazon – they can grow up to 50m high, and live for over 500 years. Brazil nuts are notable for their rich content of vitamins and minerals, and this makes them an important and valuable non-timber forest product, and their passive harvesting provides a way to generate income from a tropical forest without destroying it.
The Brazil nut concessions project supports the community to produce reliable income through this passive harvesting. This incentivises the protection of the forest and its carbon sinking capabilities, since Brazil nut trees can only be found in old-growth forests. The project has also built a new processing facility, expanding a formerly subsistence activity into a viable income source. Additionally, the community receive carbon finance income generated by the protection of the rainforest.
Visible through careful additional monitoring, there are good indicators that the project has so far been a success in its goal of protecting the rainforest from degradation and deforestation. There has been little evidence of disturbance to the biomass (such as illegal logging) within the project boundary, and carbon storage per hectare has also increased since the project began in 2010.
Incorporated within the project activity is an outreach programme to help local communities understand the benefits of keeping the rainforest intact, including the benefits to the climate and to safeguarding threatened and endangered species.
This project is verified by the the Verified Carbon Standard and Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard. You can view it on the Verra Registry here.
Turning waste biogas into electricity in Thailand
All production processes generate waste in some form. The production processes at distilleries generate large amounts of wastewater containing a high concentration of organic waste, which – when left untreated in open lagoons – leads to potent greenhouse gases like methane being released into the atmosphere.
Because of the climate impact of these emissions from organic waste, it is vital to ensure the treatment of as much waste as possible, to minimise the potential for output of harmful greenhouse gases when the waste decomposes.
One way to do this is to use methane digesters, which harness the power of microbes to transform organic waste into biogas (an energy source) and digestate (a nutrient-rich fertiliser).
This innovative project mitigates greenhouse gas emissions caused by the decomposition of wastewater from the Thai San Miguel Liquor (TSML) distillery in Bangkok, by capturing biogas from wastewater and converting it to electricity in newly-installed engines.
The process uses methane digesters – by installing a digester between the exiting sump pit and the lagoons, the wastewater is treated, with the subsequent captured methane used as biogas for electricity production.
Previously, wastewater with a high organic matter content was treated in an anaerobic lagoon which during the organic decomposition, led to the escape of methane into the atmosphere. The project reduces greenhouse gas emissions by capturing the biogas before it enters the atmosphere and converting it into electricity. The electricity is then used to replace the fossil fuel energy which powers the TSML boilers, and is also exported to the Thai national grid. Estimated emissions reductions from this project around over 87,000 tonnes per year.
As well as providing jobs and training directly linked to the project activity, the project owner also engages in a wide range of social initiatives and educational programmes, including funeral care and sponsoring gifts for the Ton Lum Yai temple during Loy Kratong Festival.
This project is verified by the Gold Standard. You can view it on the Gold Standard registry here.