Methodologies for measuring fugitive methane emissions from landfills – A review

Jacob Mønster, Peter Kjeldsen, Charlotte Scheutz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Fugitive methane (CH4) emissions from landfills are significant global sources of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere; thus, reducing them would be a beneficial way of overall greenhouse gas emissions mitigation. In Europe, landfill owners have to report their annual CH4 emissions, so direct measurements are therefore important for (1) evaluating and improving currently applied CH4 emission models, (2) reporting annual CH4 emissions and (3) quantifying CH4 mitigation initiatives. This paper aims at providing an overview of currently available methodologies used to measure fugitive CH4 emissions escaping from landfills. The measurement methodologies are described briefly, and the advantages and limitations of the different techniques are discussed with reference to published literature on the subject. Examples are given of individual published studies using different methodologies and studies comparing three or more methodologies. This review suggests that accurate, whole-site CH4 emission quantifications are best done using methods measuring downwind of the landfill, such as tracer gas dispersion and differential absorption LiDAR (DIAL). Combining aerial CH4 concentration measurements from aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicles with wind field measurements offers a great future potential for improved and cost-efficient integrated landfill CH4 emission quantification. However, these methods are difficult to apply for longer time periods, so in order to measure temporal CH4 emission changes, e.g. due to the effect of changes in atmospheric conditions (pressure, wind and precipitation), a measurement method that is able to measure continuously is required. Such a method could be eddy covariance or static mass balance, although these procedures are challenged by topography and inhomogeneous spatial emission patterns, and as such they can underestimate emissions significantly. Surface flux chambers have been used widely, but they are likely to underestimate emission rates, due to the heterogeneous nature of most landfill covers resulting in sporadic and localised CH4 emission hotspots being the dominant emission routes. Furthermore, emissions from wells, vents, etc. are not captured by surface flux chambers. The significance of any underestimation depends highly on the configuration of individual landfills, their size and emission patterns.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWaste Management
Volume87
Pages (from-to)835-859
ISSN0956-053X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • DIAL
  • Eddy covariance
  • Landfill gas
  • Mass balance
  • Qualitative methane reconnaissance techniques
  • Radial plume mapping
  • Surface flux chambers
  • Tracer gas dispersion
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Antennas
  • Gas emissions
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Lithium compounds
  • Methane
  • Surface measurement
  • Radial plume mappings
  • Surface flux
  • Tracer gas
  • Land fill

Cite this

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title = "Methodologies for measuring fugitive methane emissions from landfills – A review",
abstract = "Fugitive methane (CH4) emissions from landfills are significant global sources of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere; thus, reducing them would be a beneficial way of overall greenhouse gas emissions mitigation. In Europe, landfill owners have to report their annual CH4 emissions, so direct measurements are therefore important for (1) evaluating and improving currently applied CH4 emission models, (2) reporting annual CH4 emissions and (3) quantifying CH4 mitigation initiatives. This paper aims at providing an overview of currently available methodologies used to measure fugitive CH4 emissions escaping from landfills. The measurement methodologies are described briefly, and the advantages and limitations of the different techniques are discussed with reference to published literature on the subject. Examples are given of individual published studies using different methodologies and studies comparing three or more methodologies. This review suggests that accurate, whole-site CH4 emission quantifications are best done using methods measuring downwind of the landfill, such as tracer gas dispersion and differential absorption LiDAR (DIAL). Combining aerial CH4 concentration measurements from aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicles with wind field measurements offers a great future potential for improved and cost-efficient integrated landfill CH4 emission quantification. However, these methods are difficult to apply for longer time periods, so in order to measure temporal CH4 emission changes, e.g. due to the effect of changes in atmospheric conditions (pressure, wind and precipitation), a measurement method that is able to measure continuously is required. Such a method could be eddy covariance or static mass balance, although these procedures are challenged by topography and inhomogeneous spatial emission patterns, and as such they can underestimate emissions significantly. Surface flux chambers have been used widely, but they are likely to underestimate emission rates, due to the heterogeneous nature of most landfill covers resulting in sporadic and localised CH4 emission hotspots being the dominant emission routes. Furthermore, emissions from wells, vents, etc. are not captured by surface flux chambers. The significance of any underestimation depends highly on the configuration of individual landfills, their size and emission patterns.",
keywords = "DIAL, Eddy covariance, Landfill gas, Mass balance, Qualitative methane reconnaissance techniques, Radial plume mapping, Surface flux chambers, Tracer gas dispersion, Waste Management and Disposal, Antennas, Gas emissions, Greenhouse gases, Lithium compounds, Methane, Surface measurement, Radial plume mappings, Surface flux, Tracer gas, Land fill",
author = "Jacob M{\o}nster and Peter Kjeldsen and Charlotte Scheutz",
year = "2019",
doi = "10.1016/j.wasman.2018.12.047",
language = "English",
volume = "87",
pages = "835--859",
journal = "Waste Management",
issn = "0956-053X",
publisher = "Pergamon Press",

}

Methodologies for measuring fugitive methane emissions from landfills – A review. / Mønster, Jacob; Kjeldsen, Peter; Scheutz, Charlotte.

In: Waste Management, Vol. 87, 2019, p. 835-859.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Methodologies for measuring fugitive methane emissions from landfills – A review

AU - Mønster, Jacob

AU - Kjeldsen, Peter

AU - Scheutz, Charlotte

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - Fugitive methane (CH4) emissions from landfills are significant global sources of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere; thus, reducing them would be a beneficial way of overall greenhouse gas emissions mitigation. In Europe, landfill owners have to report their annual CH4 emissions, so direct measurements are therefore important for (1) evaluating and improving currently applied CH4 emission models, (2) reporting annual CH4 emissions and (3) quantifying CH4 mitigation initiatives. This paper aims at providing an overview of currently available methodologies used to measure fugitive CH4 emissions escaping from landfills. The measurement methodologies are described briefly, and the advantages and limitations of the different techniques are discussed with reference to published literature on the subject. Examples are given of individual published studies using different methodologies and studies comparing three or more methodologies. This review suggests that accurate, whole-site CH4 emission quantifications are best done using methods measuring downwind of the landfill, such as tracer gas dispersion and differential absorption LiDAR (DIAL). Combining aerial CH4 concentration measurements from aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicles with wind field measurements offers a great future potential for improved and cost-efficient integrated landfill CH4 emission quantification. However, these methods are difficult to apply for longer time periods, so in order to measure temporal CH4 emission changes, e.g. due to the effect of changes in atmospheric conditions (pressure, wind and precipitation), a measurement method that is able to measure continuously is required. Such a method could be eddy covariance or static mass balance, although these procedures are challenged by topography and inhomogeneous spatial emission patterns, and as such they can underestimate emissions significantly. Surface flux chambers have been used widely, but they are likely to underestimate emission rates, due to the heterogeneous nature of most landfill covers resulting in sporadic and localised CH4 emission hotspots being the dominant emission routes. Furthermore, emissions from wells, vents, etc. are not captured by surface flux chambers. The significance of any underestimation depends highly on the configuration of individual landfills, their size and emission patterns.

AB - Fugitive methane (CH4) emissions from landfills are significant global sources of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere; thus, reducing them would be a beneficial way of overall greenhouse gas emissions mitigation. In Europe, landfill owners have to report their annual CH4 emissions, so direct measurements are therefore important for (1) evaluating and improving currently applied CH4 emission models, (2) reporting annual CH4 emissions and (3) quantifying CH4 mitigation initiatives. This paper aims at providing an overview of currently available methodologies used to measure fugitive CH4 emissions escaping from landfills. The measurement methodologies are described briefly, and the advantages and limitations of the different techniques are discussed with reference to published literature on the subject. Examples are given of individual published studies using different methodologies and studies comparing three or more methodologies. This review suggests that accurate, whole-site CH4 emission quantifications are best done using methods measuring downwind of the landfill, such as tracer gas dispersion and differential absorption LiDAR (DIAL). Combining aerial CH4 concentration measurements from aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicles with wind field measurements offers a great future potential for improved and cost-efficient integrated landfill CH4 emission quantification. However, these methods are difficult to apply for longer time periods, so in order to measure temporal CH4 emission changes, e.g. due to the effect of changes in atmospheric conditions (pressure, wind and precipitation), a measurement method that is able to measure continuously is required. Such a method could be eddy covariance or static mass balance, although these procedures are challenged by topography and inhomogeneous spatial emission patterns, and as such they can underestimate emissions significantly. Surface flux chambers have been used widely, but they are likely to underestimate emission rates, due to the heterogeneous nature of most landfill covers resulting in sporadic and localised CH4 emission hotspots being the dominant emission routes. Furthermore, emissions from wells, vents, etc. are not captured by surface flux chambers. The significance of any underestimation depends highly on the configuration of individual landfills, their size and emission patterns.

KW - DIAL

KW - Eddy covariance

KW - Landfill gas

KW - Mass balance

KW - Qualitative methane reconnaissance techniques

KW - Radial plume mapping

KW - Surface flux chambers

KW - Tracer gas dispersion

KW - Waste Management and Disposal

KW - Antennas

KW - Gas emissions

KW - Greenhouse gases

KW - Lithium compounds

KW - Methane

KW - Surface measurement

KW - Radial plume mappings

KW - Surface flux

KW - Tracer gas

KW - Land fill

U2 - 10.1016/j.wasman.2018.12.047

DO - 10.1016/j.wasman.2018.12.047

M3 - Journal article

C2 - 30660403

VL - 87

SP - 835

EP - 859

JO - Waste Management

JF - Waste Management

SN - 0956-053X

ER -