Transport and reaction processes affecting the attenuation of landfill gas in cover soils

S. Molins, K.U. Mayer, Charlotte Scheutz, Peter Kjeldsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Methane and trace organic gases produced in landfill waste are partly oxidized in the top 40 cm of landfill cover soils under aerobic conditions. The balance between the oxidation of landfill gases and the ingress of atmospheric oxygen into the soil cover determines the attenuation of emissions of methane, chlorofluorocarbons, and hydrochlorofluorocarbons to the atmosphere. This study was conducted to investigate the effect of oxidation reactions on the overall gas transport regime and to evaluate, the contributions of various gas transport processes on methane attenuation in landfill cover soils. For this purpose, a reactive transport model that includes advection and the Dusty Gas Model for simulation of multicomponent gas diffusion was used. The simulations are constrained by data from a series of counter-gradient laboratory experiments. Diffusion typically accounts for over 99% of methane emission to the atmosphere. Oxygen supply into the soil column is driven exclusively by diffusion, whereas advection outward offsets part of the diffusive contribution. In the reaction zone, methane consumption reduces the pressure gradient, further decreasing the significance of advection near the top of the column. Simulations suggest that production of water or accumulation of exopolymeric substances due to microbially mediated methane oxidation can significantly reduce diffusive fluxes. Assuming a constant rate of methane production within a landfill, reduction of the diffusive transport properties, primarily due to exopolymeric substance production, may result in reduced methane attenuation due to limited O2-ingress. Copyright © 2008 by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)459-468
Publication statusPublished - 2008


Dive into the research topics of 'Transport and reaction processes affecting the attenuation of landfill gas in cover soils'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this