How Real-Time Data Can Enhance Your Landfill Gas Project: An Introduction
When you think of waste management and landfills, the first thing that comes to mind might not be real-time data. But if you can’t effectively measure something, how can you effectively manage it?
Today, landfills are the world’s third-largest source of methane emissions. With a greenhouse gas so potent impacting our environment daily, it’s more crucial than ever to think about how the use of data — and specifically real-time data — can support landfill gas projects to capture and harness those emissions more easily and efficiently.
Historically, landfills have relied on once or twice monthly readings and manual adjustments in their gas collection systems. By leveraging measurement devices installed on wellheads and at header lines, landfill operators gain greater visibility into the overall health of their gas collection systems, allowing them to:
- Capture more methane and reduce harmful emissions
- Empower on-site personnel and improve safety by reducing time spent troubleshooting on landfill surfaces
- Maximize ROI
In this blog and upcoming posts, we’ll take a deeper dive into how real-time data enhances landfill gas collection systems and projects.
Enhance Landfill Gas Capture with Real-Time Data to Reduce Emissions
The impact of harmful greenhouse gases on the environment cannot be understated. In fact, “the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has indicated a GWP [global warming potential] for methane between 84-87 when considering its impact over a 20-year timeframe (GWP20) and between 28-36 when considering its impact over a 100-year timeframe (GWP100)” — which is why the timely capture of the methane generated from waste decomposition at landfills is so important in the effort slow the rate of global warming. With threshold settings and alerts, real-time data on individual wellheads can help ensure that gas collection systems are optimized to capture as much methane as possible.
LoCI’s real-time data and control system can increase methane capture by 10–20% or more at a landfill. That’s methane that would have otherwise made its way into the atmosphere. Capturing these methane emissions not only mitigates the short- and long-term environmental impacts of the greenhouse gas, but the methane can be used as a source for renewable energy.
When landfills leverage real-time data and subsequently reduce their methane emissions, they’re also demonstrating a commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability — ideals that can go a long way in improving and maintaining positive relationships with their surrounding communities. Likewise, the use of real-time data can more effectively identify sources of fugitive emissions and odors, which may be a cause of concern for the community. Capturing more methane at landfills also supports landfill owners’ and operators’ goals to reduce their carbon footprints, often consistent with larger environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and sustainability goals.
Overall, access to and use of real-time data about gas collection systems can make a tangible difference in mitigating the effects of methane — increasing capture and minimizing emissions while supporting strong relationships with the landfill’s surrounding community.
To learn how to further enhance your landfill gas project with real-time data, stay tuned for the next post in this series.
 IEA (2021), Methane Tracker 2021, IEA, Paris https://www.iea.org/reports/methane-tracker-2021, License: CC BY 4.0