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As of July 2023, there are 532 LFG energy projects and 463 landfills in the United States that are good project candidates.

Methane Contribution To Global Warming

Methane Contribution To Global Warming

Landfill gas (LFG) is a natural byproduct of the decomposition of organic matter in landfills. LFG is approximately 50% methane (the main component of natural gas), 50% carbon dioxide (CO).

Which Of The Following Gas Is Responsible For ‘global Warming’?(a) Methane(b) Ozone(c) Carbon Dioxide(d) Nitrogen

) and small amounts of organic compounds other than methane. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, at least 28 times stronger than CO

It has trapped heat in the atmosphere for 100 years, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (AR5) Assessment Report.

Municipal solid waste landfills are the third largest source of anthropogenic methane emissions in the United States, accounting for approximately 14.3 percent of these emissions in 2021. Methane emissions from MSW landfills in 2021 were roughly equivalent to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of 23.1 million gasoline passenger vehicles driven for one year.

Emissions from approximately 13.1 million households consuming energy during the year. At the same time, methane emissions from MSW landfills lose access to and access to an important energy source.

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When MSW is first buried, it undergoes an aerobic (with oxygen) decomposition stage in which small amounts of methane are produced. Then, usually in less than 1 year, anaerobic conditions are established and methanogenic bacteria begin to break down the waste to form methane.

The diagram below shows the typical changes in LFG composition after waste disposal. Bacteria break down landfill waste in four stages. At each stage, the composition of the gas changes, and landfill waste can go through several stages of decomposition at the same time. The time interval after deployment (total time and phase duration) varies depending on landfill conditions.

Image adapted from ATSDR 2008. Chapter 2: Landfill Gas Basics. Landfill Gas Lining – An Overview for Environmental Professionals. Figure 2-1, page 1. 5-6. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/HAC/landfill/PDFs/Landfill_2001_ch2mod.pdf (PDF) (12 pages, 2 MB)

Methane Contribution To Global Warming

In October 2009, it issued a rule (40 CFR Part 98) requiring reporting of emissions from major sources and suppliers in the United States (40 CFR Part 98), focusing on timely data collection.

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Since 1990, it has published the US government’s annual inventory report, which shows estimates of US greenhouse gas emissions and removals. This inventory includes emissions from the waste sector as well as from other sectors.

Instead of escaping into the atmosphere, LFG can be captured, converted and used as a renewable energy source. The use of LFG helps reduce odors and other hazards associated with LFG emissions and prevents methane from escaping into the atmosphere and contributing to local smog and global climate change. In addition, LFG’s energy projects generate income and create jobs in the community and beyond. Learn more about the benefits of using LFG.

The diagram shows the collection and processing of LFG for several methane production. First, LFG is collected through vertical and horizontal pipelines placed in the MSW landfill. The LFG is then treated and recycled for use. The diagram shows potential end uses for LFG, including industrial/institutional, arts and crafts, pipelines, and automotive fuel.

This figure shows the three stages of LFG treatment. Primary treatment removes moisture as the gas passes through a downspout, filter and blower. Secondary treatment involves the use of a cooler or other additional moisture (if necessary), followed by siloxane/sulphur removal and sealing (if necessary). After removal of impurities in a secondary processing step, LFG can be used to generate electricity or as a medium Btu fuel for ships or boilers. Advanced processing removes other impurities (CO2, N2, O2 and VOCs) and compresses the LFG into a high Btu gas that can be used as automotive fuel or injected into a pipeline. Waste gases are sent to a flare or thermal oxidizer.

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LFG is removed from landfills using a series of boreholes and a fan/flare (or vacuum) system. This system directs the collected gas to a central point where it can be processed and conditioned depending on the end use of the gas. This point can be usefully used in a gas flared or LFG power project. Click on the flow chart for detailed information including photos of the LFG collection and processing systems.

There are many ways to convert LFG into energy. The various types of LFG energy projects are grouped into three broad categories: electricity generation, direct average Btu gas use, and renewable natural gas. Project technology descriptions are included for each project type. For more information on LFG energy project technology options and the advantages and disadvantages of each, see Chapter 3 of the LMOP LFG Energy Project Design Guide. Technological capabilities of the project.

LFG power project owners can review the LMOP toolkit for expired LFG power purchase agreements to help evaluate options for continuing power generation or transitioning to another type of project.

Methane Contribution To Global Warming

About 68 percent of LFG’s energy projects currently operating in the United States generate electricity. A variety of technologies can be used to generate electricity for on-site use and/or sale to the grid, including reciprocating engines, turbines, microturbines and fuel cells. The reciprocating engine is the most commonly used conversion technology in LFG power applications due to its relatively low cost, high efficiency, and size range that fills the exhaust of many landfills. Gas turbines are typically used in larger LFG power projects, while microturbines are typically used in smaller LFG and special applications.

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Cogeneration, also known as cogeneration (CHP), uses LFG to produce electricity and heat, usually in the form of steam or hot water. A number of cogeneration projects using engines or turbines have been installed in industry, commerce and institutions. In addition to the production of electricity, increasing the efficiency of heat energy extraction can make this type of project very attractive.

Direct use of LFG to offset the use of other fuels (such as natural gas, coal, or fuel) occurs in about 16 percent of current projects. LFG can be used directly in a boiler, dryer, furnace, greenhouse or other thermal applications. In these projects, gas is piped directly to a nearby customer for use in incinerators as a replacement or supplemental fuel. Although some modifications to the existing incinerator may be required, only limited condensate removal and filtration treatment is required.

LFG can also be used directly for wastewater evaporation. Evaporation of leachate using LFG is a good option in landfills where leachate disposal to water recovery facilities is not available or expensive. LFG is used to evaporate wastewater to make it more concentrated and eliminate the volume of wastewater.

Innovative direct use of average Btu gas includes ceramic cooktops and glass ovens; supply and heating of greenhouses with electricity; and evaporation of waste dyes. Current industries using LFG include automotive, chemical manufacturing, food and beverage processing, pharmaceuticals, cement and brick manufacturing, wastewater treatment, consumer electronics and products, paper and steel manufacturing, prisons and including hospitals.

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LFG can be converted to renewable natural gas (RNG), a high-Btu gas, using refining processes that increase methane content and vice versa, reducing CO.

Nitrogen and oxygen content. RNG can be used in place of fossil natural gas such as pipeline grade gas, compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG). Currently, about 16 percent of LFG’s power projects are generated by RNG.

Uses of LNG include thermal applications for power generation or as a fuel for vehicles. RNG can be used locally where the gas is produced, or it can be fed into natural gas transmission or distribution pipelines for delivery elsewhere.

Methane Contribution To Global Warming

A solid waste landfill is a separate land or excavation site that accepts municipal waste and may contain other non-hazardous waste. Collection of LFG usually begins after a section of the landfill known as a “cell” is closed before the waste is disposed of.

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LFG collection systems can be configured as vertical wells or horizontal trenches. The most common method is to drill vertical wells into the waste mass and connect the wellhead to a side pipe that conveys the gas to a collection manifold using a venting or vacuum induction system. Horizontal excavation systems are useful in active fill areas. Some landfills use a combination of vertical wells and horizontal collectors. Gathering system operators “move” or modify the array of wells to improve gathering.

A basic LFG processing tube includes a knockdown cylinder to remove moisture, blowers to create a vacuum to “draw” the gas, and pressure to transport the gas and flame. System operators control parameters to improve system efficiency.

SCADA system to measure LFG flow to blowers, flares and generators (photo courtesy of Smith Gardner, Inc.)

The use of LFG in an energy recovery system usually requires gas treatment to remove excess moisture, particulates, and other impurities. The type and extent of treatment depends on the specific characteristics and type of LFG

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