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State of Knowledge of Scope 1 emissions from Sewage Treatment Plants

Project Number # 2059-20

State of Knowledge of Scope 1 emissions from Sewage Treatment Plants

Project Leader:  Benjamin Bryant

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The greenhouse gases that are reported under the NGER Scheme include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O). Greenhouse gas emissions are measured as kilotonnes of carbon dioxide equivalence (CO2-e). This means that the amount of a greenhouse gas that a business emits is measured as an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide which has a global warming potential of one. For example, one tonne of methane released into the atmosphere will cause the same amount of global warming as 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Further to this nitrous oxide has a 300-fold stronger effect than carbon dioxide. Although nitrous oxide from wastewater treatment is currently considered a small component of Australia’s overall greenhouse gas inventory at around 0.5%, its influence will increase proportionally as electricity and transport networks transition to renewable sources and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.