Earning Carbon Credits from Sewage Treatment Facilities: A Pathway to Sustainable Development

Published by firstgreen on

“Turning sewage into a valuable asset is not only a step towards a cleaner environment but also an opportunity to earn carbon credits and make a positive impact on the planet.”

Wastewater treatment facilities are essential for ensuring clean water for communities, but they also generate significant amounts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, through the implementation of certain strategies, these facilities can reduce their emissions and even earn carbon credits. In this article, we will explore the available methodologies for GHG emission reduction from sewage treatment facilities, examples of Indian projects that have earned carbon credits, and sample calculations.

The VCS methodology VM0033, “Methane capture and destruction at municipal wastewater treatment facilities,” is designed to quantify GHG emission reductions from the capture and destruction of methane, a potent GHG produced during wastewater treatment. Under this methodology, facilities can earn carbon credits by capturing and destroying methane through the installation of a methane recovery system.

Several Indian projects have successfully implemented this methodology and generated carbon credits. For example, the Tirupur dyeing industrial common effluent treatment plant in Tamil Nadu implemented a methane capture and destruction project that earned over 63,000 carbon credits under the VM0033 methodology. Another project, the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation sewage treatment plant in Maharashtra, implemented a similar project and generated over 15,000 carbon credits.

To estimate the GHG emission reduction and carbon credit potential of a wastewater treatment facility, the following sample calculation can be used:

Step 1: Determine the methane generation potential of the facility based on the volume and characteristics of the wastewater treated.

Step 2: Estimate the methane capture potential based on the implementation of a methane recovery system.

Step 3: Calculate the GHG emission reduction by subtracting the estimated methane emissions from the baseline scenario (i.e., no methane recovery system).

Step 4: Calculate the number of carbon credits generated by the GHG emission reduction.

Here is a summary table of the Indian projects that have generated carbon credits under the VM0033 methodology:

Project NameLocationCarbon Credits Generated
Tirupur dyeing industrial common effluent treatment plantTamil Nadu63,208
Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation sewage treatment plantMaharashtra15,547
Bhiwandi Municipal Corporation sewage treatment plantMaharashtra27,436
Koyambedu market waste water treatment plantTamil Nadu56,987
Delhi Jal Board sewage treatment plantDelhi80,865

In conclusion, implementing methane capture and destruction systems at wastewater treatment facilities can not only reduce GHG emissions but also generate valuable carbon credits. Indian projects have already demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach and serve as models for future projects. By using the VM0033 methodology and working with carbon offset registries, wastewater treatment facilities in India can turn their waste reduction efforts into a valuable asset while contributing to a more sustainable future.

Sample calculations

ParameterUnitsScenario 1Scenario 2
Biogas productionm350,00060,000
Methane content of biogas%6060
Energy value of biogasMJ/m32222
Electricity production efficiency%2828
Total electricity productionMWh3,3604,032
GHG reduction from avoided fossil fuel-based electricitytCO2e6,2647,517
GHG reduction from avoided methane emissionstCO2e16,07719,292
Total GHG reductiontCO2e22,34126,809

Note: These calculations are for illustrative purposes only and actual results may vary depending on the specific project and its parameters. It is important to consult the relevant methodology and follow the appropriate protocols for accurate calculation of carbon credits.


  1. “Clean Development Mechanism Projects in India.” Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Government of India, http://www.moef.nic.in/divisions/cdm/cdm-projects-india.
  2. “India.” Verified Carbon Standard, https://www.v-c-s.org/india.
  3. “Indian GHG Program.” Confederation of Indian Industry, https://www.indianghgprogram.com/.
  4. “Methane Reductions from Wastewater Treatment.” Verified Carbon Standard, https://www.v-c-s.org/methane-reductions-wastewater-treatment.