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Offsetting Backgrounder

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					                       Offsetting Backgrounder

UBC has to reduce its carbon footprint if we are to achieve BC legislation stating that we
must become carbon neutral by 2010. An enormous effort is being made in all fronts, but
as we approach a technological and financial barrier other methods must be used to push
our emissions even lower. Offsetting the rest of our emissions will ensure that UBC truly
is carbon neutral. A plethora of options exist for offsetting our emissions. We can simply
buy credits from carbon markets worldwide, such as the Kyoto protocol markets,
voluntary markets and including a market being set up as we speak, the Western Climate
Initiative, or we can generate our own emission reductions. Below is a detailed
description of 9 different areas in which projects are feasible by UBC students or by
Vancouver personnel. Engaging in carbon reduction projects will prove more cost
effective than buying credits and will also ensure that we can tangibly see the effects.

Methods/Reasons for choices
A mix between mitigation and adaptation has been selected. Mitigation has a net positive
effect on our current greenhouse situation. Adaptation has a positive impact in preventing
pollution and setting greener legacies for our future. Cleaning our past and preparing for
the future are what these projects do.

-adaptation = lessen impact of current operations
-mitigation = capture pollution that has already been released

An analysis of UBC’s emission sources is needed to properly offset accordingly. It is
interesting to offset emissions of the same kind that we produce, although this is not a
rule whatsoever.

To produce this paper, I have decided to follow already established methodologies. I’ve
investigated mainly the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) but also many other sources such as Environment Canada, Us governmental
institutions, Japanese institutions, Australian Institutions and the Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change, among others. Using these established sources gives this document
credibility and immediateness of use.

The purpose of this document is to unite here a valuable amount of methodologies that
are ready for application. It is not the purpose of this document to solve the questions, but
instead to pose them with sufficient relevant information for the Roundtable to work on.

We should do what we have the capacity to do. Analyze the baseline emissions from
UBC and mitigate them. Projects should focus on reducing emissions from campus and
whatever is left, mitigate through sequestration projects.
Budget in question
Each of the options below has a different cost. A price – feasibility – benefit analysis is
the next logical step for each. Depending on cost some options will become immediately
more attractive than others.

Premilimary projects selection
The first three options selected have to do with changing energy generation techniques.
Together, the generation of electricity and the use of fossil fuels account for the largest
portion of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Energy accounts for 37.5% of global
CO2 emissions, and transportation for 22% of the energy related emissions1. It is also
valuable to consider upgrading systems efficiencies, option4. Under the energy sector
there are three pathways:
    1. Reduction in energy intensity (E/GDP)
            a. An improvement in energy efficiency by the development of energy-
                saving devices and methodologies.
    2. Reduction in the carbon intensity for power generation (C/E)
            a. A reduction in the CO2 emission per unit power generation.
            b. The development of novel power generation processes with higher
                efficiencies such as fuel cells.
            c. Switching energy resources from fossil fuels to renewable energy
                resources such as solar energy, wind power and biomass. Nuclear energy
                is also included in this category.
            d. Switching from fuels with higher carbon content, such as coal and oil, to
                ones with lower carbon content such as gas and methane hydrate would
                also reduce carbon intensity.
    3. Enhancement of the removal or sequestration rate of CO2 from the atmosphere.
            a. Enhancement of natural sinking processes
            b. Direct discharge of CO2 into the ocean of underground

 Renewable energy sources – A reduction in carbon intensity.
Investing in renewable sources of energy is a great way to pave the way for a greener,
cleaner future. Investigating alternatives from petroleum and coal derived energy ensures
a healthier mix of sources into our energy grid. I have left nuclear energy out of this mix
because there is real danger associated with its misuse and with the nuclear waste left
over. Although Generation III nuclear power plants offer a safe and improved system,
many people don’t understand or agree. Generation IV which will likely be developed by
2030 will have anti proliferation, minimal waste, enhanced safety and will be highly
economical. Hydroelectric energy has some potential damage to the environment, but its
cost effectiveness, constancy of energy outcome, and lack of air pollution has made it the
current energy of choice for British Columbia. Some of these alternate sources cost more
to install then traditional fossil fuel derived sources, and it is for this reason that they
have only become more feasible due to carbon credits.

    Journal of Chemical Engineering of Japan, Vol. 36, No. 4, pp. 362, 2003 – Table 1
All renewable energy sources have all or most of the following commonly overlooked
benefits: Risk management, Emissions reductions, Policy incentives, Resource use,
Corporate social responsibility, Societal economic benefits.

Framework for Evaluating the Total Value Proposition of Clean Energy Technologies:

       o Geothermal energy
             Classified by IPCC as mature technology with established markets in
                at least several countries.
             Installing ground-source heat pump systems in Canada.
                      UBC is one of the leading developers for this kind of
                         technology. James Tansey and the website already
                         use this technology. Installing geothermal energy into furnaces
                         reduces fossil fuel derived energy consumption by up to 75%.
       o Hydroelectric
             Classified by IPCC as mature technology with established markets in
                at least several countries.
             Alternate projects change old hydroelectric plants’ turbines to newer
                ones. This technology upgrade can increase generation by 20%
                without having to flood new areas.
             Asses environmental damage
       o Solar energy
             Two main kinds: CSP (heating water for steam energy generation) and
                PV(direct energy conversion from solar to electric due to electrons).
             Concentrating solar dishes (CSP)
                      The three main technologies for generating power through
                         steam are: Trough systems, dish/engine systems, and power
                      Convert suns energy into high temperature heat which is then
                         used to make energy through a steam generator plant
                             o Heat molten salt, process steam.
                             o Steam or gas turbines or Stirling engines.
                             o Solar-to-energy efficiencies of up o 30%
                      Ability to deliver energy in peak demand (thermal storage
             Photovoltaic energy generation.
                      PV systems are expected to be used for residential and
                         commercial buildings; distributed utility systems for grid
                         support; peak power shaving, and intermediate daytime load
                         following; with electric storage and improved transmission, for
                         dispatchable electricity; and H2 production for portable fuel.
               Other applications for PV systems include electricity for
                remote locations, especially for billions of people worldwide
                who do not have electricity. Typically, these applications will
                be in hybrid minigrid or battery-charging configurations.
      Hydrogen production from PV.
             Lack of hydrogen applications exist but technology is rapidly
      Solar-assisted air-conditioning.
      New technology is constantly being invented.
                    o UBC should study advancing solar panels
                    o Crystalline silicon is widely used and the most
                         commercially mature photovoltaic material. Thinfilm
                         PV modules currently in production include three based
                         on amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, and CIS
                    o Multi-junction solar panels are the highest technology
                         today with 40%+ efficiency.
                              Highly efficient yet highly expensive.
      Negative facts about solar energy:
             The region of Vancouver and British Columbia has low
                sunlight. – this might not be a problem. Study needed.
                    o Investing in this technology else where works.
             A solar panel has a life span. It is generally estimated at
                between 15-40 years, ranging at about 25 years for most
                technologies. Lifespan differs with each technology, yet they
                are all estimates. Voltage output decreases with years.
             Technology is still developing.
      Price in 2003: 20 to 50¢/kWh
o Wind farms
      Operational grid impact due to variable winds and subsequent energy
        output. Relatively unexplored/low reliability characteristics (capacity
      Interconnection with the grid requires extensive analysis of an ever-
        changing grid system.
      Minimal damage to the environment.
o Biopower
      Biopower, also called biomass power, is the generation of electric
        power from biomass resources – now usually urban waste wood, crop
        and forest residues; and, in the future, crops grown specifically for
        energy production. Biopower reduces most emissions (including
        emissions of greenhouse gases-GHGs) compared with fossil fuel-
        based electricity. Since biomass absorbs CO2 as it grows, the entire
        biopower cycle of growing, converting to electricity, and regrowing
        biomass can result in very low CO2 emissions. Through the use of
        residues, biopower systems can even represent a net sink for GHG
                        emissions by avoiding methane emissions that would result from
                        landfilling of the unused biomass.2
                       UNFCCC methodology: Grid-connected electricity generation using
                        biomass from newly developed dedicated plantations --- Version 2
                       UNFCCC methodology: Consolidated methodology for electricity
                        generation from biomass residues --- Version 6
                             The installation of a new biomass residue fired power plant at a
                                site where currently no power generation occurs (greenfield
                                power projects); or
                             The installation of a new biomass residue fired power plant,
                                which replaces or is operated next to existing power plants
                                fired with either fossil fuels or the same type of biomass
                                residue as in the project plant (power capacity expansion
                                projects); or
                             The improvement of energy efficiency of an existing power
                                plant (energy efficiency improvement projects), e.g. by
                                retrofitting the existing plant or by installing a more efficient
                                plant that replaces the existing plant; or
                             The replacement of fossil fuels by biomass residues in an
                                existing power plant (fuel switch projects).
                       Biomass generation plants are big investments. One of these plants
                        would more than offset UBC’s annual emissions, but investments
                        could be deemed profitable if the selling of the remaining carbon
                        credits is considered.

     Co2 Capture & Storage
         o Organic sequestration (CO2 fixation by the enhancement of natural sinking
            process of CO2. Photosynthesis – CCS here aims to increase this carbon flux.)
                Afforestation
                        Forestation, reforestation of arid lands, or the greening of
                        See more at Afforestation/Reforestation section below.
                Ocean fertilization – somewhat controversial.
                        CO2 descends into the deep ocean in the form of particulate
                          organic matter (biological pump), either by the death of
                          phytoplankton or after grazing. Once CO2 is dissolved in the
                          deep ocean it takes more than 1000 years before it is released
                          into the atmosphere by upwelling from the deep ocean.
                        Phytoplankton production is limited due to lack of available
                          nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphate, silicate, and iron.
                        Experiments have been held, mainly with iron because it takes
                          less iron than any other nutrient, such as nitrogen, to produce
                          observable increase.

2, page 10.
                An increase in fish-catch is expected as a result from
                 fertilization. This could compensate for the operational costs of
               This technology has been challenged on the basis that excess
                 interference with the marine ecosystem may have a fatal
                 impact such as resulting in the crucial booming of
                 phytoplankton. In addition, the decomposition could produce
                 other stronger gasses such as methane and nitrogen monoxide
                 (Chisholm et al., 2001). These difficulties and impacts need to
                 be carefully considered before implementing ocean
          Mineral carbonization
               Rock weathering (such as siliconates containing calcium or
                 magnesium. The siliconate rocks could be transformed into
                 carbonates with CO2.)
                      o CaSiO3 + CO2 + H2O  CaCo3 + H2SiO4
                      o MgSiO3 + CO2+ H2O  MgCO3 + H2SiO4
               Calcium carbonates are much more stable than CO2. The
                 difficulty in the process is that the reaction is extremely slow,
                 although spontaneous. An acceleration of the process can be
                      o Enhancement of the dissolution of calcium or
                          magnesium ions using stronger acids
                      o Reaction under CO2 pressure and high temperature.
               Energy consumption and cost are competitive. Research on
                 local practices needed.
               Acid may cause corrosion in the facilities and the environment.
               Process could also be used as a recycling process for the
                 cement content in waste concrete. The final product CaCO3
                 could be regenerated into a kiln, reducing the amount of
                 mining of virgin limestone required.

o Industrial capture & geological sequestration (direct CO2 sequestration by
    artificial processes.)
Fossil fuels will be continued to be used for at least the next 100 years. It is
therefore in our best interest to prevent them from further altering the climate.
                  Capture, Compress, Storage
                  Slows energy making process.
          CO2 capture at large point sources
                  Thermal power plants, or the steel or cement industries.
                  Transportation of the captured CO2 to the disposal sites after
                    proper treatment (pressurization, liquefaction, or hydrate
                  Injection of CO2 into the disposal site; either the ocean or
          Capture and separation
          CO2 needs to be captured and separated from the flue gases of
           such sources before direct sequestration.
        A number of techniques exist:
               o Absorption/stripping
               o Adsorption/desorption
               o Membrane separation
               o Chemical reaction cycle
               o Decarbonation of fuels before combustion
               o Combustion in oxygen reached air
        The energy penalty is 10-30%, which is the largest energy
           consumption process in the total sequestration process.
        Also represents 50% of the cost of the operation.
        UBC research needed in this area.
   Ocean sequestration
        Shallow water injection (gas - <500m)
        Dissolute at intermediate depths (liquid – 500~ 1500m)
        Deep ocean storage (liquid - >3000m)
        Research area/ currently being researched
               o The development of effective CO2 pumping methods
               o Accurate prediction of the fate of the sequestered CO2
                   (including impact assessment on the marine ecosystem)
   Underground Sequestration
        Options include:
               o Unnminable coal seam
               o Depleted oil or gas field
               o Saline aquifers
        Injection of CO2 into oil wells has a long history of
           commercialization in EOR (enhanced oil recovery) in the
           petroleum industry.
               o When used with EOR the cost could be negative
                   considering the offset from the associated production of
        Injection of CO2 into coal seams is an application of enhanced
           coal-bed methane recovery (ECBMR), already commercialized
           in the USA.
               o Involves methane recovery which is used to generate
        The sequestration of CO2 in saline aquifers has a large
           uncertainty, but has the largest capacity for mitigation out of
           the three.
               o Projects in Norwegian offshore saline aquifer in 1996
                   (Sleipner project)
               o Barents sea 2006 project
               o For aquifers, the maximum reservoir pressure, and the
                   effect of CO2 solubility in water should be
   In any of these options the carbon would eventually be emitted back in the global
    carbon cycle. The sequestration period depends on the location, method and form of
    CO2 for sequestration.
   Any viable sequestration option should have the following characteristics:3
        o Net reduction of CO2 emissions
        o Large potential capacity for CO2 sequestration
        o Modest cost and energy penalty
        o Long-term isolation of CO2 (at least several hundred years)
        o Minimal environmental impact
        o From the process design point of view, a life cycle assessment would be
           necessary, based on accurate estimation of the amount of carbon fixation
           versus the input energy.

   Fuel matters
       o The transport sector is responsible for 22%4 of global energy related CO2
       o Improvements in fuel efficiencies of conventional engines
                Engine by engine conversion.
                Large industry engines.
                Labor is derived by carbon credit money.
       o Expansion of bio fuels and fuel switching
                Biodiesel
                Ethanol
                      Switch grass fuel – research needed.
                Fuel switching of large machinery
                Switching fuels from existing industry burning heavy carbon content
                 fuels like oil and coal to natural gas, bio fuels, and vegetable coal.

   System Efficiency
        o Optimizing coal-fired power plants
                Combined cycle gas turbines. (CCGT) thermal efficiency has been
                   improved by more than 60% for the natural gas combined cycle.
                Integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) thermal efficiency has
                   been improved by about 42-45% by IGCC
                These options could reduce emissions per unit power generated by up
                   to 50% compared with conventional coal-fired power plants.
        o Transmission system efficiency
                Transmission line routing review in Saskatchewan : final report
        o Household efficiencies - The building sector contributes about 31% of total
           global CO25.

  Journal of Chemical Engineering of Japan, Vol. 36, No. 4, pp. 364, 2003
  Journal of Chemical Engineering of Japan, Vol. 36, No. 4, pp. 362, 2003 – Table 1
  Journal of Chemical Engineering of Japan, Vol. 36, No. 4, pp. 362, 2003 – Table 1
               Windows, lighting, insulation, space heating, refrigeration and, air
             Development of building controls
                   Passive solar design, Integrated building design, and the
                      application of photovoltaic systems
       o Precombustion treatment of fossil fuels

 Methane capturing
Methane has a global warming potential (GWP) 21 times stronger than CO2 which
makes these projects extremely efficient. There is a great amount of technology and
knowledge available on the UNFCCC website on how to capture this gas in various kinds
of projects.
        o Manure and wastes from agricultural or agro-industrial by products if left
             alone to decay anaerobically produce large quantities of CH4, Methane.
             Installing a methane recovery and combustion system on these sites can
             capture a significant amount of greenhouse gases. Furthermore captured
             methane can be used for electricity generation through the installation of a
             generator and it can be used for heat generation.
                  AMS – III.D.
                  AM0039
        o These technologies can be applied to:
                  Mines
                          Mines are everywhere. In use and abandoned mines of a certain
                             type release quantities of methane. These can be easily
                             captured for the sequestration of ghg.
                  Waste landfills
                  Hog farms
                  Cow farms

   Afforestation/Reforestation practices
    The concepts of “flow” and “stock” should be carefully distinguished (Kojima, 1998).
At the beginning of sequestration, the carbon flow to terrestrial vegetation is positive and
the stock increases. When matured, the net increase in the stock becomes zero because
the primary production rate is equilibrated with the respiration and decomposition rates.
At this point, a constant amount of carbon is sequestered in the terrestrial system. This
includes forest and soil.
    A proper management of the water supply and the reliable evaluation of the carbon
fixation rate is are essential for the implementation of these forestation operations. The
efficiency of sequestration depends significantly on the flora for forestation, the primary
production rate.

       o Fast growing trees vs. slow growing trees?
                  Fast growing such as the Poplar which produce more mitigation
                   quicker. Slow growing trees such as Oak and Maple produce
                   mitigation for longer.
       o   Calculate soil pollution x sink/stand productivity
                It is important to take soil carbon pollution and/or intake thereof in the
                   calculation. Some forestry practices release a large quantity of CO2
                   and NOx simply in the land use change. Using nitrogen fertilizers also
                   contributes to ghg emissions since the production of nitrogen for
                   fertilizers is a fossil fuel intensive industry.
       o   Problems with tree planting is when trees die, if not replanted then initiative’s
           efficiency is low(or is it?)
                Incentives to convert wood into varnished products.
                        Investigate varnish pollution.
                Convert wood into biofuels
       o   Prairie grass – switch grass ?? sequester CO2, restore wildlife habitat, prevent
           runoff and improve water quality.
                Prairie grass will eventually become best bio fuels.
                        Enzymes and bacteria doing the work and not industrial
       o   Research into forestation techniques.
                Nitrogen fertilizers are an energy intensive industry.
                Take into account long-term (<50 years) weather changes.
       o   Trees assigned to cars project
                Calculate the annual emission of each car.
                Calculate how many of a certain variety (or mix of varieties) of trees
                   capture of CO2 per year/ per stage of growth.
                Projected 1000 trees per car for a year by year accompaniment.
                Have a long term mitigation project assigning specific trees to specific
                        Develop a year by year analysis of the effort.
                        Develop a 5 year pre emptive payment, plus necessary
                Mitigate UBC fleet.
       o   The Community Ecosystem Restoration Initiative (CERI)
       o   Algae farms

   Land use change
       o Adaptation
       o Soil O2 storage

   Agriculture
       o strategies to maintain and increase stocks of organic C in soils (and biomass),
           and (ii) reductions in fossil C consumption, including reduced emissions by
         the agricultural sector itself and through agricultural production of biofuels to
         substitute for fossil fuels.
       o Agroforesrty
              Tree planting in the middle of crop fields
              Problems with tree planting is when trees die, if not replanted then
                 initiative’s efficiency is low(or is it?)

   Innovative projects
       o Changing light bulbs in rural areas to combat diesel power.
                With investments from carbon credits we can buy and install CFL light
                   bulbs into many diesel powered light sources in rural areas. Not only
                   are these old light bulbs inefficient, they also use inefficient power
                   sources that pollute much more than your average grid. Thus reducing
                   the energy use will result in significant and measurable air pollution
                   decrease. This decrease can be used as an offset for UBC’s pollution.
       o Municipal Street Lighting and Water Pumping Efficiency Improvement
                Water pumping and to a lesser degree street lighting tend to be old
                   systems which were designed in the cheap energy days. These systems
                   tend to be inefficient with room for improvement. The UNFCCC
                   methodology AM 0020
                   96TMFSTMHPPDMHSR8A5R3SJHLG32F) demonstrates what kind
                   of energy efficiency and subsequent carbon reduction can be gained
                   from water pumping efficiency improvement.
       o Truck stop grid connection to avoid running diesel engines.
                Investing in truck-stop electrification in Canada will result in a ghg
                   cut. Overnight truck stops are common in long trajectories. It is a law
                   that they must maintain their diesel engines on to power the heating
                   system and other utilities in the trucks where they sleep. This
                   technology connects the trucks to the energy grid in an effort to reduce
                   pollution. Reduction are derived from a calculation that counts how
                   much the diesel engine pollutes – how much the specific grid pollutes.
                   Trucks need a $5,000 dollar investment to be able to use this
                   technology, but in the US the EPA has already agreed to help this
                   financing by paying 50% of the cost. For trucks in the long term (18
                   months) this reduction in idling time money economic.
       o Solar cookers for third world
                Introducing newly developed solar cookers and heat retention containers for
                   cooking, heating and sterilizing of water and for preserving food.
                  Contains burning of firewood
                  1000 german K14 devices have the mitigation potential of .6 MW and
                   thus 3500 CO2 eq. tones abated per year. Over a 7 year time span this
                   culminates into about 24,500 tonnes of abated CO2 eq. 7 years is the
                   expected equipment life span.
Additionality and Baseline
In considering any mitigation project one must first determine a baseline of business as
usual emissions and then predict the expected emissions reductions from such project.
The baseline for a carbon reduction project is the scenario that reasonably represents the
anthropogenic emissions by sources or anthropogenic removals by sinks of GHGs that would
occur in the absence of the proposed project. The project boundary must also be considered.
Furthermore, for a project to truly acclaim positive impact on the environment, an
additionality test must be passed. Basically the additionality test is here to prove that the
project in question wouldn’t have occurred in the absence of incentives from carbon
reduction endeavors. Typically barriers considered are financial, technological, or policy
barriers. For a project to gain credit in a

Suggested Course of action

Cost-benefit analysis of projects.
Research the mitigation potential of each project activity.
Creation of a CO2 Mitigation Technology and methods Database at UBC.
Creation of UBC Offsetting research and action group.

       o UBC steam plant
            Co2 scrubbing from pipes
            Precombustion treatment
            Bio fuels for UBC cars

In methane landfills, it is beneficial to redirect green and organic waste from landfill and
encourage ways of onsite mulching, windrow composting (aerobic), and vermiculture.
These practices prevent anaerobic respiration in landfill from generating so much

Australian department of climate change – methane study

US National Renewable Energy Laboratory

An overview of CO2 Mitigation Options for Global Warming – Emphasizing CO2
Sequestration Options. Journal of Chemical Engineering of Japan, Vol. 36, No4, pp. 361-
375, 2003.

Journal of Chemical Engineering of Japan, Vol. 36, No. 4, pp. 361-375, 2003