ECN publication
Greenhouse gas emissions from the coffee industry in Costa Rica
Published by: Publication date:
ECN 1-4-1998
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-C--98-036 ECN publication
Number of pages: Full text:
46 Download PDF  

Within the framework of a Joint implementation project ECN and theUniversity of Heredia, department of chemistry (Laboratorio de Quimica de la Atmosfera LAQUAT) performed measurements to assess the emission of greenhouse gasses from the wastewater treatment facilities used by the coffee industry in Costa Rica. Wastewater from the coffee industry caused severe water pollution in the rivers of Costa Rica. In order to abate this problem wastewater treatment is now compulsory. The Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) levels of the wastewater that is released into the river systems, must be below 1.5 kg COD per fanega (1 fanega is about 400 kg of coffee berries). Waste water can be treated using anaerobic lagoons. In these lagoons microbial activity will degrade the organic material and methane and carbon dioxide will be formed. These gasses escape to the atmosphere and contribute to the greenhouse effect. Within the joint implementation program, the Dutch government provided the extra money to install anaerobic reactor systems that replace the lagoons. In the reactor the methane that is formed is trapped and used for heating. The net effect is that methane emissions are converted to carbon dioxide emissions. This has a positive impact on the net emission levels since 1 kg of methane as effective as 21 kg of carbon dioxide in the greenhouse forcing. In order to estimate the real emission reduction obtained by the joint implementation program, measurements were carried out at a lagoon in San Isidro at the beneficio EI General, which is operated by Volcafe

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