Development of methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfills

Tarek Abicho, Executive Director of Resilient Infrastructure and Disaster Response (RIDER) Center and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, FAMU-FSU. Credit: Mark Wallheiser / FAMU-FSU College of Engineering

Most people think about the time it takes to carry the trash can to the curb for 30 seconds a week.

Tarek Abichou has spent 30 years focusing on it.

Managing Director and Citizens of Resilient Infrastructure and Disaster Response (RIDER) Center Environmental engineering At the FAMU-FSU Faculty of Engineering, methane From landfills and other sources.

He answered questions about RIDER’s Methane Emissions Reduction Initiative (MERI) and how this study can play an important role in reductions. Greenhouse gas emissions..

Why is methane important?

It’s easy to see why so many people don’t know much about methane. For greenhouse gases, the heading is carbon dioxide (CO)2), And most scientists and engineers are sticking to reducing CO2.. Despite the fact that methane is relatively inconspicuous Global warming.. Methane (CHFour) The amount of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere is about one-200th that of CO, but it accounts for about one-fifth of the effects of greenhouse gases.2..

Global Warming Potential of Methane (GWP)-or carbon dioxide— It depends on the measurement method, but it is about 23 to 80. In other words, it is 23 to 80 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than CO.2 A period of 100 years or more.

Another reason methane is important is that it has a lifespan of 10-12 years in the atmosphere.It’s very different from CO2, Can stay in the atmosphere for centuries. That is why it is important to act on methane now.

How can I reduce methane in the atmosphere?

Human activity accounts for about 64 percent of the world Methane emissions, And landfills are about 15 percent of that amount. MERI has developed new technologies for measuring and reducing methane emissions.

New measurement tools can be used to quantify the contribution of landfills to greenhouse gas emissions and assess whether interventions are working. These include methods of measuring emissions using drones and other remote sensing technologies, making it easy to understand methane emissions across hundreds of acres of landfills.

We have developed and field tested various biofiltration technologies to reduce emissions. Biofilters are ideal for situations where emissions are generated from a single point, such as landfill gas wells, abandoned oil and gas wells, coal mines, and dairy vent systems. Other technologies, such as biocovers, are designed for a wider area.The user has the local climate Soil conditions Optimize the rate at which bacteria convert methane to water and CO2..

Another important tool is a computer model that converts methane emission reductions into carbon credits. And if there is a carbon credit market, the reduction is of economic value. This gives landfillers a reason to invest their time and money in projects to reduce methane emissions.

Tell us more about the technology developed by MERI to reduce the amount of methane from landfills.

We have developed a solution that is easy to deploy and inexpensive. It utilizes naturally occurring bacteria that live where methane is. Optimizes the ability to use methane as a food source.

Our technology is to develop the right soil mix and design for the climate, ensuring that the optimal conditions for bacteria to grow and consume methane. These bacteria are living things. They react like us to weather conditions such as rain and heat. Being able to model behavior under different conditions can explain different oxidizing capacities under different conditions. For example, you can’t design a biofilter in Alaska like you do in Florida.

There is an interdisciplinary element in this research, right?

Yes. Jeff Chanton of the Department of Earth and Ocean Atmosphere Science is part of this initiative. When we met, he was studying methane emissions from wetlands. Landfills and wetlands have some similarities. They both have methane emissions caused by the decomposition of organic matter. In landfills, it comes from discarded food and other waste. In wetlands, peat and nutrient soils are breaking down. Jeff’s expertise in measuring methane oxidation was reflected in this study and guided the engineering of creating tools for managing landfill emissions.

What is the next step for MERI?

We believe that this issue can also play an important role at the global level. Most landfills in this country are well designed, properly operated and tightly regulated. Emissions from landfills in the United States are relatively optimized compared to other parts of the world. However, in developing countries, there are many poorly managed landfills that are a much larger source of methane emissions. Developing countries lack the resources and knowledge to reduce methane emissions from landfills.

The landfill biocover we have developed is an ideal solution for developing countries as it can simultaneously reduce methane emissions and soil and groundwater pollution.We want to be a place to come to learn about methane biooxidation, methane release Measurement technology, and biofilter and biocover design. We also envision that we can help developing countries develop funding tools to improve them. Landfill We use the “Methane Oxidation to Carbon Credit” tool and protocol we have developed.

Reduction of methane emissions in landfills

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Development of methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfills

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