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Methane emissions

Afvalzorg has years of experience in the field of quantifying methane emissions originating from landfills. Methane emission can be quantified by means of modelling or in in situ measurements.

Methane emission modelling
Over the last couple of years, Afvalzorg has compared six different emission models of which four models are used to register emission to regulation of the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register  (E-PRTR), versus measured emission data. The comparison of these models showed large differences in modelled methane emissions. Questions can be raised whether E-PRTR goals are going to be met if there is a large model dependency.

Afvalzorg believes that if we want to come to comparable, consistent and accurate European datasets, model dependency should be ruled out by applying harmonised guidance to quantify methane emission by modelling. In the paper “Comparison of methane emission models”, Afvalzorg made a first attempt towards achieving this goal.
In addition Afvalzorg since 2009 assits the European Commission in drafting improved guidance for landfill gas control. With support of the Dutch environment agency a new simple landfill gas generation and emission model based on IPCC recommended parameters has been developed.

Methane emission measurement
In cooperation with ECN (Dutch Energy Research Centre) Afvalzorg has developed a simple and cheap methane emission measurement method. The method was tested on a Dutch and Danish landfill and verified with measurement data from the scientifically approved Dynamic Plume Method (DPM).
The simple and cheap method is performed according to the “Static Plume Methodology”. During a measurement campaign evacuated gas bottles are used and via capillaries ambient air is sampled during a certain period of time. Gas bottles are positioned in the vicinity of the landfill, down wind and perpendicular to the wind direction. Once opened, the gas bottles are sampling ambient air at a known rate via the critical capillary. Next to ambient air also a tracer gas is sampled due to the fact that tracer gas is released from the landfill at a known rate.
Ambient air contains known oxygen and nitrogen concentrations, but down wind of the landfill, now air will also contain methane and tracer gas emitting from the landfill. After six hours of sampling, gas bottles are closed. Sampled gas is analysed for methane and tracer gas in a laboratory. Methane emission is determined solely by the ratio of released tracer gas (dilution) and the combined concentration of methane in all gas bottles. Various campaigns have shown that the simple and cheap measurement technique compares very well to more expensive DPM techniques.

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