Just What is in API’s Carbon Reduction Project Portfolio Anyway?

By Jayme Walenta, Ph.D.

API’s partnership with Carbon Clear offers students the ability to offset the carbon emissions associated with their journey from departure city to host city. Given the impact that jet travel has on increasing greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere, offset credits offer a means to balance out the environmental impact associated with one’s travel.

Based on a sample of API students’ travel routes, we determined that the average journey (jet travel and where applicable bus or train travel) emits approximately 1.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide. By choosing to offset those emissions students will be investing in one of four carbon reduction projects that benefit not only the global environment and climate change, but also the social circumstances of the communities where those projects are located.

Before reading further, it may be worth revisiting a previous post on the API Blog detailing and defining carbon offsets and standards of evaluation.

Projects that student funds support include:

Chilean landfill gas project

The Chilean landfill gas project captures and destroys methane, a powerful greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide, from two large landfills in central Chile. Currently, most of the landfill gas in Chile is released into the atmosphere without any treatment or control, subjecting nearby communities to potential explosions, bad odors, and diseases due to rodent congregation. The project has also positive impacts on employment, using local labor to manage the system. Further, in gaining familiarity with this technology, Chilean engineers can now replicate the project in other areas. This project is certified to the VCS standard, and is on track for CDM certification.

India Metro Rail Project

The India Metro Rail Project is an energy efficiency project that involves replacing the traditional braking systems on rail cars with rheostatic brakes, which generate electricity during the braking process, much like a Toyota Prius. The electricity generated is then used to power the trains, reducing the need for carbon-intensive fuel from the grid. From a social perspective, the project benefits transit riders by reducing air pollution inside the tunnels and platform stations, and introduces a new technology to the Indian transit sector. This project is certified to the VCS standard, and has recently gained CDM certification.

Brazil Biomass Project

The Brazil Biomass Project is located at a Pulp & Paper mill outside Sao Paulo, Brazil and reduces carbon dioxide emissions by using woody biomass waste generated during the production process to fire a boiler system that provides power to the plant. Not only does the project displace the use of heavy fuel oil (dangerous for employees to handle), it also avoids the emissions associated with sending the waste to the landfill. This project is certified to the VCS standard and its additionality criterion was established using the CDM additionality tool.

Brazil Run-of-River Project

The Brazil Run-of-River Hydro Project is located on the Pimenta Bueno River in the Amazon. It displaces fossil fuel generating plants on Brazil’s regional electricity grid. Unlike traditional hydroelectric dams, this project uses only a small weir to divert a portion of the river’s flow, taking advantage of the natural drop in terrain to drive a turbine at the bottom of the hill, generating considerably less social and environmental disruptions. Power shortages and low quality electricity supply are common in rural Brazil, especially during peak demand periods. The project makes a positive contribution to grid stability and the quality of local electricity. It is certified to the VCS standard and its additionality criterion was established using the CDM additionality tool.

For additional questions about the program and/or the carbon offset credits associated with the program, please visit the API website.

Dr. Jayme Walenta is the Managing Director for Carbon Clear’s North American office.

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  1. Really enjoyed reading how to reduce carbon footprint for study abroad trip carbon usage. It is great to see other areas of the world doing all they can to reduce carbon use. These programs are wonderful.

    • Jeramy Johnson says

      Thanks Nancy! We feel strongly about educating our students on the impact they leave while traveling abroad as much as the trip impacts them 🙂

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