Farmers can earn carbon credits for biodiesel

By Ryan C. Christiansen | January 15, 2009
Web exclusive posted Feb. 4, 2009, at 10:48 a.m. CST

The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, in conjunction with Global Emissions Exchange of Closter, N.J., plans to help farmers in Pennsylvania earn carbon credits for using biodiesel on the farm.

According to Mark O'Neill, media relations director for PFB, details of how the bureau will help farmers apply for credits are still being worked out, but the PFB expects to begin rolling out the program by the fourth quarter of 2009. O'Neill said the bureau is first focused on enrolling farmers who can earn carbon credits for no-till farming practices.

When the biodiesel-focused portion of the program rolls out, farmers will earn carbon credits at a rate of 19.7 pounds of carbon dioxide reduction per gallon of B100 biodiesel used, according to Philip Gotthelf, managing director for the Global Emissions Exchange. The protocol used to determine the carbon credits earnings for biodiesel was developed in cooperation with Amerigreen BioFuels Inc., a biodiesel wholesaler and blender in Lower Swatara Township, Penn.

"That's a protocol that can be rolled out to any of the biodiesel distributors," Gotthelf said. "If someone wants to register their brand, they can go to the exchange to do it in the manufacturer's registration area or they can contact us directly."

Gotthelf said the Global Emissions Exchange is a fractional carbon exchange that allows anyone to register any energy efficient product or technology, from a single light bulb to an entire wind farm. He said the system allows for small quantities of emissions reductions to be combined into one-pound and one-kilogram carbon credits, which can then be sold on the exchange.

"Amerigreen currently passes carbon credits on to the consumers," Gotthelf said, "and so each consumer has a registration, but there are situations where the distributor might want a 5 percent override on this registered carbon dioxide because they are facilitating the registration of the carbon dioxide. Because we have a fractional carbon platform, any kind of formulation can be programmed."

Gotthelf said the Global Emissions Exchange can also facilitate helping biodiesel producers purchase carbon credits from their customers through a relational carbon purchase. "The more the customers benefit from this relational carbon purchase, the more fuel they [might be] willing to buy from their related refineries' distributors," he said. The exchange could also help biodiesel producers set up a program to sell biodiesel to customers at a discount in exchange for carbon credits, he added.

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