Reduction of Landfill Greenhouse Gases

Reducing global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is a daunting task confronting the international community as reflected in the Kyoto Protocol. A major opportunity to reduce GHG is presented by landfills, which generate landfill gas (LFG) containing high concentrations of methane. Methane is a potent GHG with 23 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Capturing and flaring the LFG produces 20.5 tons of equivalent carbon dioxide reduction for every ton of methane burned. This process is proven as an economical, technically feasible, and widely recognized means of reducing GHG under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) component of the Kyoto Protocol. Several LFG collection/flaring projects have been developed under the CDM in non-Annex 1 countries such as China, Brazil, Chile, Armenia, and Bangladesh with sponsors from Annex 1 Countries such as Austria, the Netherlands, Spain, Japan, France, and the United Kingdom. LFG projects developed under CDM protocols are required to demonstrate a sound technical approach to establish baseline emissions, determine the additionality of project GHG reductions, and implement a gas collection and methane conversion technology.

Hydro Geo Chem’s (HGC) landfill GHG reduction methodology offers an effective, cost-efficient approach to satisfying CDM requirements for baseline and additionality assessments. This methodology, derived from HGC’s patented baro-pneumatic process, includes the following sequential components:

• Monitor the landfill's pressure response to barometric pressure changes and short-term gas extraction tests.

• Use the field monitoring data to construct and calibrate a numerical gas-flow model of the landfill which then estimates the landfill's LFG generation rate.

• Correlate the LFG rates at monitoring wells with landfill's waste disposal history to construct and calibrate a site-specific 1st-order Scholl-Canyon type gas generation model and to predict future gas generation for the CDM baseline emissions assessment.

• Design an LFG collection/flaring system, using the numerical gas-flow model to evaluate changes in collector well construction and location and, thereby, to optimize efficiency and minimize construction costs. The optimized design can be evaluated for CDM additionality criteria.

HGC is now applying this systematic methodology to develop GHG LFG Collection/Flare systems at landfills in several non-Annex 1 countries.

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