Sample Project: Fuel Switches

In broadest terms, Fuel Switches take place when a company or municipality converts existing fuel oil- or natural gas-fired boilers to boilers which burn hog fuel, wood chips, or wood pellets. Such fuel switches are recognized by the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) as having the ability to generate quantifiable and fungible carbon credits in the event that the steam which is produced is used as heat, only. In the event that the resulting steam is used to generate electricity, Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) may be created. Fuel switches are also possible when fossil fuel is replaced with geothermal energy, biogas, waste steam, or even less intensive fossil fuels, e.g.: a fuel switch from coal to natural gas. Importantly, certain states, such as Maine, North Carolina, Arizona, and Nevada, permit REC generation when renewable resources are used to generate space and process heat. Please feel free to request CSNW’s fuel-switching briefing papers for additional details: info@carbonsolutionsnorthwest.com.

At present, CSNW supports development of VCUs at two fuel-switching projects in the Upper Midwest and the Pacific Northwest. The Midwestern fuel switch involves digestion of corn waste at an ethanol-production facility. The resulting biogas will be used to displace roughly half of the plant’s need for traditional natural gas. In the Pacific Northwest, we’re working with a respected food processor and helping them use carbon revenue to justify capital expenditures associated with implementing a fuel switch from natural gas to waste steam from a nearby cogeneration facility.