EREF Announces Landfill Emissions Measurement Project through Partnership with Florida State University

Raleigh, NC – The Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) announced a project that aims to aggregate needed data related to direct measurement of landfill emissions, in partnership with Florida State University. Dr. Tarek Abichou, PhD, PE, FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, is the principal investigator on the project.

This project will combine data from a variety of direct emission measurement technologies, with some sites being measured for emissions using multiple technologies over the same time frames to allow intercomparison of results. This project aims to make a significant contribution in the methodologies of providing estimates of methane emissions rates. The vision of the work being conducted at FSU is to provide scientifically-validated landfill emission measurement methodologies and improve protocols for greenhouse gas emissions inventories for landfills.

“It is imperative we improve landfill emissions measurement methodologies and significant data is
needed at multiple sites. Such data is critical in order to validate the accuracy and variability of direct
measurement strategies so we may better understand how to be effective in lowering greenhouse gas
emissions,” said Bryan Staley, PhD, PE, President and CEO of EREF. “EREF is proud to support this project and empower credible science to lead the way toward improving sustainability in waste
management practices.”

“The overall objective of this project is to contribute in the efforts of converting ambient air methane
plume and concentrations monitoring, acquired via ground, aerial, or even satellite technologies. This
will estimate methane emission fluxes, in mass per time for a single facility. Specifically, the project will
(1) provide scientifically validated methodologies that measure emissions from landfills, and (2) revise
and develop protocols for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventories for landfills. We also hope that
some of the lessons learned during this project will be extended to measuring emissions from other
sectors,” said Dr. Tarek Abichou, a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and an Executive Director at Resilient Infrastructure & Disaster Response Center (RIDER).


Amongst all currently available methods of measuring methane emissions from landfills, the controlled tracer correlation technique is currently considered to be the most accurate method, in terms of providing estimates of total methane emissions from landfills. The controlled tracer method is also regarded as the benchmark to “ground-truth” other technologies developed or designed to provide estimates of total landfill emissions.

Several techniques are being and will be tested as alternatives to the controlled tracer technique, such as Continuous Emissions Monitoring (CEM), ground-based Surface Emissions Monitoring (SEM), Drone based Emissions Monitoring (DEM), and Airplane, or Satellite based methodologies. The newly formed Methane Emission Reduction Initiative (MERI) at FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, Florida State University, have performed and will perform the controlled tracer release testing in participating landfills across the country. Measured and estimated facility emissions will be compared to reported emissions typically obtained using USEPA and IPCC modeling approaches.

The program is estimated to be complete by the end of 2022. If you would like to be a participating landfill, please contact Dr. Tarek Abichou, to discuss surface emission monitoring/measurement options at your site as Carbon Mapper travels the country.

EREF is a 501(c)3 class charity that advances scientific research and creates educational pathways that enable innovation in sustainable waste management practices. For more complete information on EREF funded research, its scholarship program and how to donate to this great cause, visit


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Stephen Aber
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