South Pole is operating a support programme to reduce methane emissions from sewage treatment plants. This is being financed by the KliK Foundation. The programme supports sewage treatment plant operators who are implementing measures to reduce methane emissions in their facility and consequently making a contribution towards climate protection in Switzerland.
Methane is a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential 25 times higher than that of CO2. That means 40 kg or 60 m³ of methane at atmospheric pressure has the same climate effect as a tonne of CO2. The sludge treatment process releases very large quantities of this gas, which has a crucial impact on the carbon footprint of a sewage treatment plant. The programme by South Pole supports sewage treatment plant operators who are implementing measures to reduce their methane emissions. Depending on the process, the methane captured can even be used to generate energy. This could potentially mean additional revenue through the sale of gas or electricity.
As part of the programme, relevant stages in the sewage treatment plant's process are equipped with a gas-tight covering (e.g. the mud stack). The captured exhaust air is connected to the digestion plant or fed directly into an incineration plant. This means the methane is destroyed and does not end up in the atmosphere.
Participating plant operators receive 140 CHF per tonne of CO2e until the investment has been repaid. After that, they receive 10,000 CHF per year for operation and an additional 25 CHF per tonne of CO2e.
This is how it works:
Together with a trusted engineering office, South Pole offers all sewage treatment plants a free, non-binding initial analysis of reduction potential. If interested, the plant operator begins in-depth clarifications with the engineering office. After completing preliminary planning and a suitability test, the plant operator decides whether or not to participate in the programme.
The plant operator works with the engineering office to implement the measures that reduce methane emissions. They install the measuring devices required for monitoring the reduction in emissions.
South Pole deals with the issuance of certificates through the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (Bundesamt für Umwelt [BAFU]). All the sewage treatment plant operators need to provide are data monitoring the gas flow and sludge throughput.
South Pole transfers the subsidies to the plant operator annually for the emissions reductions achieved.
The following sewage treatment plants are already participating in the programme:
Further plants are currently analysing their reduction potential or undergoing preliminary planning.
Technical documentation on the ARA programme can be found along with further details on the BAFU website under the title: "0089 Programme on the treatment of methane-containing exhaust air in communal sewage treatment plants".
Are you ready to take climate action and participate in the ARA programme? Click here for a link to the registration form.
"The support programme enables sewage treatment plants to make an active contribution to climate protection. On top of the additional gas produced, they benefit from extra revenue to cover the investment. Working with South Pole is simple, quick and unbureaucratic."