Freshwater Lakes and Impoundments are a Critical Source of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions
Methane emissions from nutrient-impaired lakes is a serious climate disruptor
Water has gone under the radar as a source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Even the US EPA fails to mention it as a source of GHGs. Yet an important study, published in 2018, has revised upwards previous estimates of the global impact of lakes and water on the atmosphere, sounding a warning call to clean up our act before water quality declines even further — and our climate with it.
Scientists have for some years agreed that lakes and other freshwater sources contribute the equivalent of 20% of global fossil fuel emissions. It is now clear that methane is the leading constituent, and methane is produced by eutrophic lakes — lakes that have more nutrients in them than they can handle. Methane is now understood to account for 75% of the total GHG emissions from water, a much larger proportion than previously thought, and it is far more detrimental to the atmosphere than CO2 or nitrous oxide. The new study’s authors conclude that “even moderate” increases in eutrophication could translate to 5–40% increases in the greenhouse gas effects on the atmosphere, adding the equivalent effect of another 13% of fossil fuel combustion. But, the rate of eutrophication is anything but moderate. Harmful Algae Blooms are an indicator of this and they are increasing at an alarming rate.
The link between methane emissions and eutrophication
Methane emissions correlate with lake size and the level of eutrophication the lake experiences. Methane is more prevalent in lakes with oxygen-poor, carbon-rich environments that experience algae blooms The authors of the 2018 study noted the possibility that one particular form of carbon is more readily turned to methane (CH4). Therefore, they argue, ongoing eutrophication is a key factor in the increase of global methane production.
BioHaven FPV brings good news
BioHaven Floating Islands treat lakes that are eutrophic by reducing the nutrient pollution that causes algae blooms. BioHavens transition water back towards a more pristine state. BioHaven FPV can transition water at a scale that will make a difference.
BioHavens have a 12-year proven history in reducing algae blooms by reducing the carbon and nutrients they thrive on and revitalizing the water by creating an oxygen-rich environment.
NanoHavens, which combine the surface-area of a BioHaven Floating Island platform with top-to-bottom aeration of the water column, are our flagship product for fighting HABs and their GHG impact.
BioHaven FPV platforms, which deploy BioHaven Floating Islands interspersed with NanoHavens on a large scale, are a timely solution to halt the rate of eutrophication and reduce the impact on our atmosphere.
Floating Island International brings solutions that offer a return on investment to offset the costs of implementation. BioHaven Floating Solar is the ideal vehicle to fight climate change, not only by generating clean power but also by cleaning up lakes and impoundments to reduce the emission of dangerous levels of methane into the atmosphere. We are actively exploring carbon credits as part of the cost offsetting.
From the US EPA's website
If we add water to the EPA's pie-chart graph, this is what it looks like.
Wastewater lagoons are another leading cause of GHG emissions
Rural wastewater lagoons are a leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. As the schematic shows, the cause of this is excessive build-up of organic matter in the sediments, which in turn is caused by lack of oxygen. Oxygen supports the removal of organics by providing the conditions needed for the bacteria that digest this material. BioHaven Floating Islands provide surface area for these bacteria to flourish, and increase the oxygen input into water, especially through added aeration.
NanoHaven is an ideal solution. It can be deployed in Lagoon 1, to reduce the BOD and / or in Lagoon 2 to reduce ammonia and take out the remaining BOD. The solar-powered NanoHaven (not shown) decreases the reliance on grid power, which is the biggest expense in treating wastewater.
Lagoons that are insufficiently treated can quickly become anaerobic and cause the release of potent greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
How nanobubbles work to reduce a thick, odorous muck layer by increasing oxygenation in the sediments (courtesy of MoleaerTM).
Urban heat sinks
Many cities are getting hotter with the impact of climate change. Creating parks and ponds helps to absorb some of the heat to provide cooler areas for humans to relax in. BioHaven Floating Islands can be incorporated into Urban Cooling Projects to reduce the impact further:
BioHavens attract heat away from the water, providing cooler habitat for aquatic life.
BioHavens provide shade and cooling underneath the island, and by blocking out the light, inhibit the excessive growth of underwater plants that can choke the water and deprive it of oxygen.
Solar BioHavens can be deployed on a small or large scale to create alternative power that reduces emissions further for sustainable power.
Please reach out to us for more information on how BioHaven Floating Islands can mitigate climate change.