A Robust Method for Estimating Landfill Methane Emissions

Figueroa, Veronica K.; Mackie, Kevin R.; Guarriello, Nick; Cooper, C. David
August 2009
Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association (Air & Waste M;Aug2009, Vol. 59 Issue 8, p925
Academic Journal
Because municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills emit significant amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, there is considerable interest in quantifying surficial methane emissions from landfills. The authors present a method to estimate methane emissions, using ambient air volatile organic compound (VOC) measurements taken above the surface of the landfill. Using a hand-held monitor, hundreds of VOC concentrations can be taken easily in a day, and simple meteorological data can be recorded at the same time. The standard Gaussian dispersion equations are inverted and solved by matrix methods to determine the methane emission rates at hundreds of point locations throughout a MSW landfill. These point emission rates are then summed to give the total landfill emission rate. This method is tested on a central Florida MSW landfill using data from 3 different days, taken 6 and 12 months apart. A sensitivity study is conducted, and the emission estimates are most sensitive to the input meteorological parameters of wind speed and stability class. Because of the many measurements that are used, the results are robust. When the emission estimates were used as inputs into a dispersion model, a reasonable scatterplot fit of the individual concentration measurement data resulted.


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