Reservoir Methane Capture Mechanism



A facility that finances methane capture technology in the turbined-waters of hydroelectric plants. The methane feeds biogas energy generators, providing multiple sources of revenue.  

The Problem 

Hydropower plants produce methane-rich turbined water as a natural output of their operations. If captured, this methane can be fueled into biogas generators, providing a stable and tangible revenue source for the plants. Hydropower reservoirs in tropical latitudes emit 4.4 million tons C02e/year from methane degassing.  

However, despite the increasing awareness about hydropower GHG emissions, operators must incur a cost to assess GHG emissions that don’t provide them with additional benefits. Currently, the lack of a methodological framework for methane capture and utilization technology that allows the verification of emissions reduction is an additional barrier that doesn’t provide sufficient guarantees to invest in methane offsets. 

The Solution 

Reservoir Methane Capture Mechanism will promote methane capture in the turbined waters of hydroelectric plants in the tropics. The facility will include emission capture potential assessment, individual project design and development, investor engagement, and carbon credit generation and trade. The instrument will front the costs of these structures and be compensated in fixed and variable fees, according to the energy generated. 

We need to act urgently with innovative solutions to overcome the financial barriers and gap in accountability to reduce methane emissions from reservoirs. The Lab is a reference worldwide to streamline novel financial instruments and mobilize high-level expertise and financial capital to the mechanism. The Lab can provide technical support to move this innovative facility from concept to implementation, acting as a catalyst to unlock climate investment,” – Maria Ubierna, Director at Open Hydro. 

Target Impact 

According to proponents Open Hydro and Bluemethane, methane capture from freshwater reservoirs represents a USD 193 million /year opportunity by 2030 from carbon credits and additional energy generation revenues. 

The instrument can potentially reduce 53,000 tons of methane emissions per year in Brazil and 550,000 tons if scaled globally. Also, emissions reduction will improve the water quality downstream.