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The measurement of methane emissions and surface methane oxidation at landfills - WR1125

The Environment Agency, Defra and DECC, would like to quantify emissions of methane from landfill sites in the UK more accurately in order to focus mitigation effort and improve reporting of the UK greenhouse gas emissions inventory.
Methane from all sources accounted for 7.5% of UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2005. The reported figure for methane emissions from landfill in the UK was 924000 tonnes in 2005 which represents 39.5% of all UK methane emissions. The reported emissions from landfill are estimated by using the internationally agreed method and model.

Landfill gas emissions are a significant component of the UK’s reported release of non-CO2 greenhouse gases and the IPCC has recently increased the 100 year carbon dioxide equivalent for methane to 25 times that of CO2.

Without information on actual emissions, the validity of the model, and consequential accuracy of the reported UK data, cannot be confirmed. This survey is intended to feed into the methane inventory reporting by providing data for methane capture rates and methane oxidation. The default value in the IPCC Guidelines for methane oxidation in capping systems is 10% and the validity of this figure is a key unknown in the estimates of methane emissions. This survey will provide data which will help quantify the methane emissions from landfill and determine the levels of oxidation that are found in landfill capping systems.

The final report is a large document, and if there are problems with viewing online, it is recommended that the report is downloaded and viewed offline
The survey will measure the emissions of methane from nine landfills in England and Wales using Differential Absorption LIDAR (DIAL) and the simultaneous
measurement of the methane oxidation rate. This will provide the data to allow for the calculation of methane capture rates and the production of a methane balance for the surveyed landfills. The outputs are also intended to inform any future surveys by identifying any practical issues found when undertaking the field measurements.

The specific aims of the survey are:
1. To provide reliable information on the methane emissions, methane oxidation and capture rates at the surveyed landfills;
2. To identify any practical issues associated with methane oxidation measurements and the DIAL measurement technique and confirm the viability
of the DIAL for measuring whole site methane emissions at an extensive sample of landfills;
3. To inform a cost-benefit approach to sample numbers for a more extensive survey; and
4. To provide recommendations for a standard method for undertaking subsequent surveys
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : WR1125: Pilot Survey of Methane Emissions From Landfill   (10523k)
• ANX - Annex : WR1125: Pilot Survey of Methane Emissions From Landfill Annex   (14963k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2011

To: 2012

Cost: £258,610
Contractor / Funded Organisations
National Physical Laboratory
Environmental Protection              
Managing residual waste in landfill              
Residual Wastes Management              
Waste Management