Gas Mapping Lidar and Tracer Correlation Methods for Landfill Methane Emissions Quantification

Investigator: Bridger Photonics and University of Delaware

Start Date:
April 2018

Award Amount:
$240,000

There is an established need to quantify methane emissions from landfills, driven primarily by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. The EPA currently requires Method 21 for surface monitoring for controlled landfills and requires computational models for whole landfill emissions estimates, which determine tiers of regulation and remediation. However, Method 21 is time consuming and expensive, and whole landfill model input uncertainties and spatio-temporal variations can lead to considerable errors compared to actual emissions. A tracer correlation method (TCM), which represents the current state-of-the-art, can perform measurements under certain conditions, but it has critical limitations that have prevented its widespread adoption. The waste management industry therefore needs affordable and effective empirical methods to directly test and validate, or replace, computational models and Method 21 for whole-landfill and surface emission monitoring.

The overall goal of the project is to conduct an objective intercomparison between TCM and a new drone-based gas-mapping LiDAR (GML) method. The objectives are:

  1. Develop methods for GML-based landfill emissions measurement.
  2. Compare GML and Method 21 for landfill concentration mapping.
  3. Compare GML and TCM methods during controlled release and landfill emissions tests.
  4. Analyze data and report results.