agro-industrial wastewater

January 16, 2024

organic waste streams
This protocol applies to GHG reduction projects that divert eligible organic waste or agro-industrial wastewater streams.


This protocol applies to greenhouse gas reduction projects that divert eligible organic waste or agro-industrial wastewater streams that otherwise would have gone to uncontrolled anaerobic storage, treatment, and disposal systems (solid waste landfills, onsite anaerobic wastewater treatment facilities, etc.).

Projects that involve co-digestion of eligible organic waste streams with livestock manure are also eligible if they comply with the Livestock Project Protocol, diverting waste to a biogas control system (BCS). The protocol accepts several technologies, including:

  • Single digestion, co-digestion, centralized digesters, and existing digesters that use excess capacity.
  • Methane destruction onsite (flare, engine, boiler, turbine, fuel cell).
  • Methane is transported offsite for destruction (pipeline injection, direct-use arrangements) or used as vehicle fuel.

Project Eligibility

The protocol stipulates the following requirements:

  • The project and waste sources must be within the United States or U.S. tribal lands.
  • The start date must be within six months from the date of the first load into the digester of the eligible waste stream included in the quantification of emission reductions.
  • A biogas control system (BCS) must consistently, periodically, or seasonally digest non-industrial food waste, food-soiled paper waste, and/or agro-industrial wastewater.
  • Co-digestion of eligible organic waste and manure is permitted if livestock operations meet the eligibility requirements outlined in the Livestock Project Protocol.
  • The project must exceed any reductions that would have occurred as a result of compliance with federal, state, or local regulations.
  • The project developer must demonstrate the following:
    • Anaerobic baseline conditions (for agro-industrial wastewater).
    • Ownership of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions.
    • The project is not registered with any other registry system.
    • Proper accounting and monitoring.

Project Exclusions

Protocol excludes the following activities:

  • Waste streams that do not meet the definition of eligible waste such as fat, oil, and grease residues, municipal biosolids (sludge), and industrial food processing wastes.
  • Grocery store waste streams not previously landfilled for at least 36 months before the project’s diversion date.
  • Waste streams mandated by law for diversion or digestion unless the project implementation is in conjunction with a local waste diversion mandate.
  • Agro-industrial wastewater at breweries, ethanol plants, pharmaceutical production facilities, and pulp and paper plants.

Project Outcomes

A project is eligible to receive credits for ten years from the start date or until project activity is required by law. Applications for a second 10-year eligibility period are available. Only two AD facilities have registered with the Climate Action Reserve (CAR). CAR has awarded these projects a total of 224,655 CRTs, valued at approximately $700,000. In 2022, CAR awarded 22,257 CRTs to these projects. At a market price of $3.00/CRT, 22,257 CRTs have a value of $66,771.

Credit Feasibility

Understanding the technology and navigating protocol requirements can take time and effort. That’s where we come in. Contact SCS Engineers at or Greg McCarron on LinkedIn to learn how your project may qualify.


Additional Resources


Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am