Development & Application of a Tracer Gas Correlation Technique to Determine Whole Landfill Rates of Methane Emission & Oxidation

Investigators: Florida State University and Cygnus Environmental

Start Date:
Feb 2011

End Date:
Feb 2012

Award Amount:

The determination of fugitive methane emissions from landfills is a topic of increasing environmental importance. Approaches for measuring methane emissions such as chamber studies and radial plume mapping with tunable diode laser equipment (such as that recommended by the EPA’s OTM-10 method) are not adequate for characterizing the complex terrain and the large area of source emissions such as those from a landfill. This project will utilize a tracer gas correlation technique on down-wind plumes utilizing cavity ring-down spectroscopy.  The USEPA is a collaborator on the project to verify and help determine rigorous QA/QC protocols to define the deployment and use of the technique.

The primary objectives of the project are to:

1. Determine optimum weather/environmental conditions for employing this technique.

2. Determine the effect of weather/environmental conditions on results from the technique.

3. Examine methane emissions from landfills in different stages of development, specifically:
a. newly constructed sites prior to gas collection
b. large regional facilities with active gas collection and waste collection
c. closed facilities without gas collection
d. closed facilities with final cover and gas collection

4. In conjunction with the tracer gas technique, collect plume samples for isotopic analysis to determine landfill cover methane oxidation.

The research will result in a reliable, rigorous and inexpensive method for determining and monitoring whole landfill methane emissions.