A carbon offset is a certificate representing the reduction of one metric ton (2,205 lbs) of carbon dioxide emissions, the principal cause of climate change. Although complex in practice, carbon offsets are fairly simple in theory.
If you develop a project that reduces carbon dioxide emissions, every ton of emissions reduced results in the creation of one carbon offset. Project developers can then sell these offsets to finance their projects. There are hundreds of different types of carbon reduction projects. For example, a dairy farm can install an anaerobic digester to captures and destroys methane that would otherwise be released when animal manure decomposes. However, such anaerobic digester projects are typically expensive to install and maintain. In order to finance the construction and operation of a digester project, a dairy farm can sell the emission reductions in the form of carbon offsets.
Carbon offsets are therefore an available tool for individuals and organizations that wish to mitigate the impact of their own carbon footprint.
Funds collected will be contributed to these projects. The offsets from these projects are registered under the Climate Action Reserve (CAR) or Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) which assure transparency and quality in the creation, quantification, and verification of offset projects.
TerraPass Project Portfolio includes the following project types
Landfill Gas Capture
Landfill gas capture projects turn garbage into power. As organic waste breaks down it releases methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more powerful than CO2. According to the EPA landfills are the third largest source of methane emissions in the United States. Through the installation of gas collection and control systems, these projects not only result in the destruction of powerful green house gases, but the gas can also be burned in a generator to create renewable electricity.
TerraPass works with farms in communities across the United States to make the best possible use of animal waste. Through the use of anaerobic digesters, methane is captured as the manure breaks down and is then destroyed when it is burned as a fuel to produce electricity. Additionally these digesters can also produce a variety of other products that help the farm and reduce environmental impact. The fibrous material can be separated, dried and used as bedding while the liquid effluent can be used as fertilizer. Anaerobic digestion also aids local communities by helping to reduce water pollution and odor associated with animal husbandry.
Clean Energy from Wind Farms
Wind energy displaces electricity that is generated by dirty fossil fuels like gas and coal (the way that most power is currently generated in the United States). In this sense, the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that are avoided depends upon the “carbon profile” of the electricity grid where the energy is produced. The carbon profile of each regional grid is calculated periodically by the US Environmental Protection Agency by adding up the weighted average carbon dioxide emissions of all commercial energy sources on that regional grid.
Abandoned Coal Mine Methane
Coal mines are a major source of methane emissions in the US, as methane gas naturally exists in coal beds and is released into the atmosphere through mine shafts. Methane escapes both from active mines and from abandoned mines that have reached the end of their useful life. TerraPass only supports methane capture projects at abandoned coal mines, as we seek avoid providing any benefit or incentive to companies involved in mining operations. Like other methane capture projects, powerful greenhouse gases are destroyed and can also be used to generate electricity, thus providing a “double” benefit.
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