Methane Emissions Recovery and Energy Use in Latin America
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG) that has a pound-for-pound impact to climate change more than 25 times greater than that of carbon dioxide. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plays a leading role in methane reduction through several global climate change initiatives, including its Global Methane Initiative and the United Nations Environment Programme’s Climate and Clean Air Coalition. EPA selected Tetra Tech to support its international efforts by working with partner countries and private and non-government stakeholders to reduce methane emissions through cost-effective projects for methane recovery and re-use as clean energy.
I want to thank [Tetra Tech] for all the support and contribution in the development of the Workshop on Organic Waste Management. It has been an excellent experience and we are very motivated and received very good feedback from the attendees of the municipalities. We do not want to lose this momentum and we will continue working on this line, because municipalities are hungry for knowledge and support.Carolina Ascui Barth, Chile Ministry of Environment
Tetra Tech provides EPA with programmatic support and technical and training assistance on methane recovery and alternative energy use projects in Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Peru. These efforts are directed at key methane emitters, such as the oil and gas, landfill, and wastewater sectors.
Oil and gas operations generate fugitive methane emissions at extraction, storage, and processing facilities. Tetra Tech worked with EPA and Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), Mexico’s state-owned petroleum company, to identify ways to reduce these emissions and capture this lost resource. Tetra Tech is working with PEMEX to develop an implementation plan under the Climate and Clean Air Coalition’s oil and gas partnership program, which will serve as a guideline to reduce methane emissions at other PEMEX facilities and other oil and gas company facilities.
In the landfill sector, separation and diversion of organics can considerably reduce waste-related methane. As part of our support of EPA’s international efforts, Tetra Tech assessed the feasibility of waste management alternatives for three municipalities in Brazil and examined the viability of using recovered landfill gas as an energy source there. Tetra Tech also conducted workshops in Chile, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru to train state and municipal officials about waste-related methane reduction, landfill gas recovery, and alternative energy.
Municipal wastewater treatment produces methane, especially during the digestion and decomposition of the large quantities of biosolids treatment produces. Tetra Tech is preparing a pre-feasibility study for an anaerobic digestion system of biosolids at a wastewater plant in Mexico, identifying the optimal anaerobic digestion technology, and quantifying the potential energy use and reductions in GHG emissions. We also trained wastewater treatment plant managers and stakeholders regarding anaerobic digestion systems and technologies that are available to reduce methane emissions, enabling them to begin taking the necessary steps to secure funding and other project development support.
Tetra Tech’s support of the collaboration between EPA and its Latin American partners is yielding important benefits, including enhanced opportunities for economic growth and energy security, reduced GHG emissions, and improved air quality.