Carbon Credits for sale (sold)

Discussion in 'Chemistry' started by Billy T, Sep 28, 2007.

  1. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Carbon credits are making some things strange happen. Today Folio, (Sao Paulo newspaper) tells that mainly Dutch bank Fortis has bought for 34thousand Reais (about US$20,000) carbon credits from a dump in Sao Paulo.

    As most know, santitary land fills have anarobic "bugs" processing the organic matter (fancy for garbage) into CO2 and CH4 (methane). Well all admit that methan is more effective green house gas than CO2. Also it is obvious that if a molecule of CH4 is burned you get only one molecule of CO2. So the dump has installed "flare pipes" and is buring the methane. Sao Paulo sold 808,450 "carbon credits" (I do not know what units that really is) to Fortis who will sell them on to polluting industry.

    Article states metane is 21 times more of a greenhouse gas than CO2 (per C atom, I think) so burning each molecule of CH4 allows 20 molecuels of CO2 to be released by the buyer Fortis no doubt already has for these "carbon credits."

    The dump gas has so much CO2 in it that it is a poor fuel and Sao Paulo does not plan to run small power plant on it as capital cost too great - more profitable just to burn it and sell the carbon credits.

    It all seems very strange to me but I guess it is OK, not entirely crazy. What do you think?
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  3. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

    extinction event.
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  7. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    They don't have to prove that global warming is real, but anyone who says it's junk science has to prove that statement.
  8. Klippymitch Thinker Registered Senior Member

    What's a Carbon Credit?
  9. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    It is a system that rewards someone (or corporation usually) for doing something (that probably would not be economical to do without carbon credits) that will cause CO2 not to be released or will absorb it from the atmosphere.

    For example, planting many trees in a open field or further processing some CO2 that your normal production (including the energy source for it) process would release.

    To take a unlikely "process example", but the first that comes to mind, which is easy to explain:

    Perhaps you make "light weight" concrete beams, by injecting tiny air bubbles into the wet concrete while mixing it. Obviously the air is free, but if you buy tanks of CO2, those bubbles should also work to make light-weight, CO2-containing, beams. They may be economically viable if you can sell the carbon credits you earn by removing (for very long time, nothing is "forever") that CO2 from the environment.

    The whole market for carbon credits is just getting developed. I think it is used only by Koyoto treaty signature countries. I.e. No polluter in US would pay* one cent for your "carbon credit" as he can just pollute as much as he likes without paying, but in Germany, for example, there are restrictions on how much CO2 each type of factory can release per Kg of product (Or something) and if you exceed your limit you will be fined (more than the cost of buying "offsetting" carbon credits).

    This is really not a new concept. For example, the Rine river is quite clean, has fish and people swim in it etc. despite being one of the most intensly used rivers by industry and shipping in the world. This is because if you pollute it, you are fined, but if you must you can buy privledge with some sort of "offset" clean up - I think this is the case for more than 50 years, but do not know the details.
    *The US is taking advantage of others. This is the old, well known in economics "problem of the commons" Several hundred years ago, taxes on the great estates caused many to become public property. Their great fields were then used in common. To each individual it as advantagous to add anothe cow to the commons to eat grass, but the collective action of all was a disaster for all. It is also closel related to the Prisoner's Delima" game theory problem. The US is screwing others to gain a compteive advantage like the prisoner who said "the other one did the crime." US does justifies this as Koyoto treaty give China, India and few others prevlege of "catching up" by same polluting methods that the US used, like burn dirty (sulpher containing) coal. But again I do not know the details -only trying to explain by creating specific illustrations, which may not be true.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2007
  10. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    When they're talking about building facilities to store a billion tons of carbon dioxide at a time, there's quite a market in carbon credits. There's also a hell of a terrorist target.
  11. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    Open-ended flare's aren't the best viable option for dealing with landfill gases, the main reason for this is the fact that there is no 'optimisation' in regards to the flowrate and gas composition. The gas is basically burnt through a predefined size orifice that is only optimise should all the variables (moisture content of gas, gas composition, gas pressure, barometric pressure to name a few) be the same as the optimised design flow.

    If the flow drops or rises, there can be a change in the combustion temperature which in turn causes changes in what chemicals are released as exhaust, Some are worse than CO[sub]2[/sub].

    I know a little about it since my Fathers company is in the business of manufacturing of enclosed flare systems for landfills, sewage treatment, mine degassing, tank degassing, barge degassing and of course oil field degassing.
  12. Giambattista sssssssssssssssssssssssss sssss Valued Senior Member

    I'm not all that familiar with the developing situation involving CO2, but the prospect of these new carbon "taxes" I've been hearing about lately sound like a great new method of extracting even more money from the ordinary working class, as well as more overall control over people's lives in general.

    Though I think this is a separate issue from carbon credits.
  13. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    I assume you are referring to N2O, because the land fill gas is a mix of CO2 and CH4 (and H2O vapor but we can neglect that, except for its heat capacity, I am almost sure as it is very hard to thermally split water - even if you could, still dealing with only the elements H,C & O)
    I do not know anything abput the flares used at the Sao Paulo dump to burn the CO2 & CH4, but I find it hard to believe what you say about that being important because the CO2 is so dominate (produces a low temperature flame, at best)* that I would guess there is essentially zero N2O produced. (the N2 of the air is the sourec of the nitrogen)

    If not N2O, what else can you make in a low temperature flame with only these four elements (H,C,O & N) that is harmful? If you do not know, ask your "expert father." I could be wrong (and if so, I want to know) but my guess now is that you are just making "hot air" (pun intended) - I do, however agree that if breathed immediately before it cools, that can be deadly.

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    *I have read that some land fill gas is so poor a fuel (very rich in fire extingisher CO2) that the only way to burn it is with a counter-flow heat exchanger! (I.e. land fill gas is preheated prior to contact with air and the pre-heat energy is then recovered from the combustion.)
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2007
  14. zanket Human Valued Senior Member

    I read an article that extends the idea of being carbon neutral using carbon credits. For example, there's "adultery neutral", where you buy credits from someone monogamous to let you fool around guilt free. And "calorie neutral", where you pay someone to be super healthy so you eat anything you want...
  15. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    Try NO[sub]X[/sub]'s in general, there is also H[sub]2[/sub]S that gets pulled through the flare, of course you've missed out Sulphur as an output (Which is given off by the decomposition of organic matter, along with your C, H, O and N). Not to forget VOC's.

    (FYI, Most landfills don't have H[sub]2[/sub]S monitors. If the H[sub]2[/sub]S concentration is high and the site suffers gas migration due to moisture, barometric pressure, temperature etc it can be a 'Silent Killer'.)

    That's a load of crap, the only reason for poor combustion is the lack of dilution, if you pump it out with an air mix (and monitor the mix for oxygen) you can gain a combustible level easy enough, the concern however is maintaining a well ventilated 'Safe Zone' in regards to operation.

    The reason for the poor Oxygen level is due to the nature of the Anaerobic bacteria that aids in the breakdown of organic materials. If the level gets too great it kills the bacteria, which is obviously bad for a landfill site (As well as bad for the creation of a gas flow).

    This means there is only so much gas you can drain from a site before you start taking air in, which is what you don't want.

    Of course this isn't so much the problem as leachate (waste water), that if it isn't drained correctly can actually pollute nearby land and underground water reserves.

    *btw, my father ran the company, I worked there for a few years as a CAD operator during the design phase of a few of his Flare's. This meant I worked with the overall schematic designs and even had to do the Chemistry Calc's on occasion, I've even had to go out into the field to although not as an Engineer (problem with my father was he was a bit tight and wasn't willing to pay me like the Engineers.)
  16. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Yes I did forget to name S, mainly as H2S, I think, but it is silly to suggest they need monitors for that. H2S is sometimes called "rotten egg gas" and it is deadly but seldom to anyone who has a working nose and can flee. - Except for some mercaptins, it is the worst stink I know of in very low (only obnoxious, not harmful) concentrations. Why buy a monitor?

    Why spend money on pumps to pre-mix air into the dump gas? The volume of gas produced by the anerobic bacteria in the sealed dump is much greater than the solids they were eating. Just let it flow out in your simple collection pipes.

    One seldom pre-mixes any fuel gas with air until just before the combustion - look at your gas stove, if you have one or the design of an blow tourch etc. It can be very dangerous to pre-mix to a combustion level of oxygen concentration, especially in a dump where considerable heat is also being produced. If any spark happens (for example piece of hard rock falling on piece of steel) the whole dump may try to fly.

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    Perhaps I am not understanding you, but this part of your post really does seem like a "load of crap" - perhaps "High Flying Crap"

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    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2007
  17. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    H[sub]2[/sub]S in low concentrations 'Smells', in High Concentrations it actually destroys the sense of smell. Why do you think that people that work on a landfill site don't complain constantly about the smell of what they deal with, it's not because they've grown use to it, it's because their sense of smell has been dulled by H[sub]2[/sub]S.

    It's very important to have monitors on it's migration, I know a site I recently was on must of had 70-80ppm at the very least but no protocols for dealing with it since it was a US manciple tip. (I'm not at liberty to discuss which site that was since they are attempting to clean up the site due to EPA/EPD guidelines)

    My point of premixing wasn't that you fill the pipelines with O[sub]2[/sub], simply to ignite a gas you have to 'dilute it' with air which means introducing air into a combustion zone. If you've truly looked at a Pipe flare tip, you'll find that it's usually covered with a shroud with a number of holes, the holes are to allow the air to be pulled into the gas flow to generate a combustible mix.

    However this combustible mix is not constantly optimised by any forms of automated regulation, so is only optimised when the flow is running at the same design as the pipework is designed for.

    The flare temperature too is not optimised, it suffers from difference's based upon wind velocity and barometric pressure. Most flare designs are slowly getting the idea by utilising 'Enclosed systems', the shrouds aren't just their to hid the luminosity of the flare but to attempt to optimise the flare temperature.

    The gas on most 'fitted' sites usually involves pulling the gas from the site, however as I point out it has to be regulated to preserve the site's gas creation (if the CH[sub]4[/sub] percentage drops too a certain level, then it's time to stop pulling gas and let it build up, or restricting the flaring to a lesser optimised flowrate) and is also a way of syphoning the leachate from the ground with the help of K.O. Pots (The waste water can even be processed through treatment tanks so that it can be purified and then piped elsewhere).

    Now now Billy, both you and I know you have an antagonistic quality about yourself, which pretty much means your BS meter is always reading 'Off the Scale'.
  18. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Thanks for the information about dump flares - I leaned from you and was misunderstanding you prior post as implying adding air to the dump itself.

    As far as the BS/hostility meter, yes it is true that at times I can achieve a high rating (but seldom on the BS indicator part); however, as far a being off scale, you must have an old model, one calibrated before the Baron and several others active in the physics forum, began to post.

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  19. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    It's no problem Billy, I didn't want to come across as a bighead for the subjects I discuss, you just happened to pick one I've actually worked in

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    Most Governments are obviously trying to curb the pollution generated by such sites (in fact some Sites are having to be reclassified as 'Toxic Dumps' because of their mismanagement causing the leachate waste water to pollute the ground water). Through their attempted curbing and the constant need for renewable energy, they have looked at how to tap the gas supply (since the gas in generated for 20-30 years after the site has been closed to dumping).

    Flare's are a more ecologically friendly alternative to outright venting and aren't the solution to dealing with the pollutants themselve's. Repower Generation where the gas is either used to furnace other manciple
    waste or can be piped for use nearby in factories. (In fact it's known a few Biofuel factories take landfill gas for their Biofuel production)

    Of course the problems in landfill tips is different between Europe and the US, Europe ones tend to do dumping to the depth of 30ft-45ft while in the US that can be greater than double that (90ft-100ft+). The problems with the depth being too great is that it takes longer to decompose and not all of it will decompose (if it's too deep down even the bacteria can't grow).

    It also means that where a site would create gas for 30 years in Europe after closure, it could take 100+ years for a site in the US. (As well as land subsidence)

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