Everybody likes choice and openness. TerraPass, one of the more successful players in the US carbon-offset selling business, has introduced a new management system, commensurate with that preference. Current choices for new places to invest income from the sale of carbon offsets are described on the TerraPass website. Customers and onlookers have 30 days to offer comments; after which, staff makes the selections.
This public comment technique offers what green investment portfolio managers call a "positive screen." Instead of picking investments as a closed business matter, and then taking a drubbing for any faults that may surface, TerrPass is publicly jurying the choices up front. It's not perfect, of course, but certainly a step in a positive direction.
Take, for example, the manure digester project located on Scenic View Dairy farm in Michigan (pictured). This one happens to be at the top of the current TerraPass list of projects under consideration for portfolio addition. We read the TerraPass project summary, and then, using the Internets, grabbed some more secondary intel.Somehow we know those Canadians would be lurking in the background.
Owing to a partnership with Canadian technology firm QuestAir Technologies Inc., the Fennville, Mich., operation is about to become the first commercial facility in the nation to convert animal waste into pipeline-grade methane. It will be used by Michigan Gas Utilities Corp.
..."This is the first site ever to produce electricity and pipeline-grade natural gas," said Norma McDonald, operating manager for Phase 3 Developments & Investments LLC, which is a systems integrator and consultant for Scenic View for the project. "We'll produce about 700 kilowatt-hours of electricity and in addition to that about 100 cubic feet per minute of pipeline gas."
From a Michigan Gas Utilities presentation we learned that:
Micro organisms from cow waste are cultivated and grown in tanks.
Waste from the culture is 50% methane.
New technologies are being utilized to increase 50% methane gas to 99% as well
as removing other impurities
After the power needs are met, the dairy makes an economic decision to either
generate and sell excess electricity or sell excess gas directly to MGU.
We hope TerraPass adds this one to the portfolio and that the offsets sold create an incentive for the project collaborators to expand as hoped for:
Additional sites being considered for Scenic View farms owner – Hillside Farms throughout Michigan
Centralized locations studied to serve multiple producers in an area
MGU will assist your local utility if needed to support other BioGas Initiatives
And, to keep more cow crap out of Lake Michigan.
Via::Detroit Free Press, "Cow manure packs energy - Michigan farm turns it into gas and electricity"
Image credit::Michigan Gas Utilities.