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Destruction of methane generated from dairy manure in covered anaerobic ponds

15 February 2017
Is the method for the destruction of methane generated from dairy manure in covered anaerobic ponds suitable for your business?
  • Are you looking to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions generated by your milking cows?
  • Do you operate a dairy farm that engages in dairy cow farming, raw cow’s milk production, or share milking as its primary purpose?
  • Are you willing to install equipment to cover a new or existing pond of effluent from the dairy farm?
  • Are you willing to install equipment to collect and combust gas from the covered pond?

If you have answered yes to all of these questions, the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) (Destruction of Methane Generated from Dairy Manure in Covered Anaerobic Ponds) Methodology Determination 2012 (the method) may be suitable for your business. Read on for further information including eligibility and compliance details.

The method sets out the rules for projects that reduce the release of methane generated from dairy manure.

A project using this method requires the installation and operation of pond covers, gas capture equipment and combustion equipment to existing uncovered effluent treatments, or the replacement of conventional ponds with covered ponds systems. Biogas is collected from the covered ponds and the methane component of the biogas is combusted using flares, an electricity generation system, and/or a gas boiler. A project can have a significant abatement effect as the combusted methane is converted into carbon dioxide which has a much lower global warming potential than methane.

Method variations

Section 114 of the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Ini​tiative) Act 2011 (the Act)​ ​allows for methods to be revised and varied. This is to ensure methods continue to operate as originally intended. Variations to methods are developed and drafted by the Department of the Environment and Energy. Information on draft methods and method variations is available on the Department of the Environment and Energy’s website.

The Clean Energy Regulator recommends making yourself familiar with proposed method variations relevant to your project should they arise, and how any changes between the original method and the varied method may affect your project plan.

Legislative requirements

You must read and understand the method and other legislative requirements to conduct a destruction of methane generated from dairy manure in covered anaerobic ponds project and earn Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs). This includes:

Tools and Resources​

Quick reference guide to the method for the destruction of methane generated from dairy manure in covered anaerobic ponds

This quick reference guide provides basic information about eligibility criteria and obligations that must be met to earn ACCUs from a project using the method. It includes specific links to the relevant legislation but should not be viewed as an alternative to reading the full legislative requirements.

Contents

Crediting period

Seven years – The crediting period is the period of time a project can apply to claim Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs).

Eligibility requirements

There are general eligibility requirements in the Act which include:

  • newness
  • additionality and funding from other government programs, and
  • legal right.

There are other eligibility requirements in the method.

Project Activities

A project using this method involves the capture and combustion of biogas generated by the decomposition of dairy manure in effluent ponds and must consist of the following activities:

  • using covered ponds to prevent the release of biogas (containing methane)
  • collecting the biogas from the covered pond, and
  • combusting the methane component in the biogas to convert it to carbon dioxide.

Ponds used in the project must comply with the standards for construction, operation and maintenance of ponds set out in the Effluent and Manure Management Database standards.

Ponds must have a minimum loading rate of 50g of volatile solids per cubic metre of active pond volume per day.

The method allows for the use of flaring, an electricity generation system, and a gas boiler.

Use of flaring

Any flaring system used in the project must:

  • use a frequently sparking flare to ensure the continuous destruction of method, or
  • include a control system that prevents gas flow through the flare when the flare is not operational.

Use of an electricity generation system

You may use an internal combustion engine for electricity generation fed by the methane generated by the project activity.

  • If you use an electricity generation system you must determine the destruction efficiency of the internal combustion engine in accordance with the method (section 3.10), and
  • calculate the volume of methane combusted.

You must determine the electricity efficiency factor for the internal combustion engine in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications, with calibration at least every five years. The manufacturer or an accredited third party must conduct the calibration.

Use of a gas boiler

If you use a gas boiler, you must operate the system in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications, with calibration at least every five years. The manufacturer or an accredited third party must conduct the calibration.

Exclusions

Only effluent from the management of dairy cows within the project may be deposited in the project ponds.

How is abatement calculated?

The net abatement amount is calculated as the amount of methane emissions avoided minus emissions from fuel used to operate the gas capture and combustion equipment.

The amount of emissions avoided is the difference between baseline emissions and project emissions. This must be calculated using the equation in section 3.8 of the method.

Monitoring requirements

In addition to the general monitoring requirements of the Act, projects must meet method-specific monitoring requirements.

Section 4.2 of the method outlines quality assurance and quality control requirements for all monitoring instruments and combustion devices.

Record Keeping requirements

In addition to the record keeping requirements of the Act and the Rule, projects must also meet the method-specific record keeping requirements. These include making and keeping records of information for calculating the baseline, including:

  • Cow numbers and classes,
  • milk production and length of lactation/dry-off period
  • time cows spend in areas where effluent is collected for transfer to project ponds
  • efficiency of pre-treatment (screening) systems
  • number of project ponds
  • pond dimensions and
  • calculation of volatile solids deposited into the project ponds.

Specific information must also be recorded and kept about the following matters:

  • combustion devices
  • monitoring devices
  • gas composition, and
  • direct and indirect measurement.

Specialist skills

Specialist skills you might consider is to have samples of biogas tested by a National Association of Testing Australia (NATA) accredited laboratory.

Reporting requirements

In addition to the reporting requirements of the Act and the Rule, the method also sets out the following method-specific requirements that must be included in each report. These include:

  • net greenhouse gas abatement number
  • quantity of methane generated under baseline conditions
  • total volume of methane sent to combustion devices
  • destruction efficiencies of combustion devices (if default values not used)
  • total amount of fuel used by the project, and
  • electrical efficiency of the internal combustion engine generator.

Applications for ACCUs can be made at the same time as you submit your project reports through the Client Portal using the electronic ERF Project Reporting and Crediting Application form.

Audits

All projects receive an audit schedule when the project is declared and must provide audit reports according to this schedule. A minimum of three audits will be scheduled and additional audits may be triggered. For more information on the audit requirements, see the Act, the Rule and the audit information on our website.

All non-compliance whether accidental or not or through circumstances outside your control must be reported to your auditor and rectified as soon as reasonably possible. For more information see Participant obligations.

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