As a greenhouse gas, Methane is 34 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, making it a significant threat to the atmosphere. If not dealt with carefully, organic waste emits methane gas as it decomposes. In order to regulate this production of methane, sealed tanks called methane or anaerobic digesters have been created to trap the methane released which can then be used as energy in the form of biogas. The solids left over from this process, which are extremely nutrient rich, are an excellent fertilizer. Using biogas as an energy source reduces the demand for wood and coal as sources of fuel, limiting their harmful impact on the planet and human health, leading Project Drawdown to rank methane digesters as the 30th best solution for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The following stories (see below) discuss how communities around the world are currently utilizing biogas to not only provide for their energy needs but also improve their local economies. One project, ISABEL, is striving to bring biogas to Europe by creating strong community involvement to utilize biogas stations. Another project in Rwanda uses biogas created from the school's bathrooms to provide energy for cooking students' food, reducing the school's energy bill by two-thirds. Alappuzha, a city in India, responded to the existential threat trash posed to its tourist industry by becoming the cleanest city in India, in part through the use of community recycling and regional biogas generators. Finally, we learn how hog farms in the US are helping Duke University reach its goal of zero emissions by turning hog waste into green energy. This solution is one of the Drawdown Ecochallenge actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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