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Methane Oxidation in Swedish Landfills Quantified with the Stable Carbon Isotope Technique in Combination with an Optical Method for Emitted Methane

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journal contribution
posted on 01.10.2007, 00:00 by Gunnar Börjesson, Jerker Samuelsson, Jeffrey Chanton
Methane budgets (production = emissions + oxidation + recovery) were estimated for six landfill sites in Sweden. Methane oxidation was measured in downwind plumes with a stable isotope technique (Chanton, J. P., et al., Environ. Sci. Technol. 1999, 33, 3755−3760.) Positions in plumes for isotope sampling as well as methane emissions were determined with an optical instrument (Fourier Transform InfraRed) in combination with N2O as tracer gas (Galle, B., et al., Environ. Sci. Technol. 2001, 35, 21−25.) Two landfills had been closed for years prior to the measurements, while four were active. Measurements at comparable soil temperatures showed that the two closed landfills had a significantly higher fraction of oxidized methane (38−42% of emission) relative to the four active landfills (4.6−15% of emission). These results highlight the importance of installing and maintaining effective landfill covers and also indicate that substantial amounts of methane escape from active landfills. Based on these results we recommend that the IPCC default values for methane oxidation in managed landfills could be set to 10% for active sites and 20% for closed sites. Gas recovery was found to be highly variable at the different sites, with values from 14% up to 65% of total methane production. The variance can be attributed to different waste management practices.