Measurements of methane emissions on the surface of landfills

Chair of Waste Management and Emissions

Emissions - EMS

Emissions, Odours, Laser-assisted processes, methane emissions
[Photo: Dr.-Ing. Martin Reiser]

If it stinks to others, then the people of this research group are in their element!

In the work area "Emissions" you take care of almost everything gaseous that escapes somewhere. Preferred for waste treatment plants, landfills and sewage treatment plants, but also other emissions are "welcome".

The topics "acceptance" and "gaseous emissions" are often strongly linked in waste treatment plants. On the one hand, this is about avoiding nuisance or complying with limit values, but on the other hand it is also about conserving resources and sustainability. Minimising emissions of lima-relevant gases in the disposal and recycling of waste remains an important area of research.

In the field of EMS, the prevention of methane generation and methane monitoring are currently an important focus. This research is applied to work on the reduction of after-care in landfills, the reduction of emissions during MBWT and the further development of measuring methods for methane.

In cooperation with companies and authorities, the existing possibilities for gas analysis are frequently in demand.

The range of available instruments extends from classical methods such as gas chromatography with mass spectrometers and flame ionization detectors to more "unusual" methods such as olfactometry, laser absorption spectrometry and sniffing port (GCMS-o). Our work is embedded in the scientific-technical as well as in the economic context. Our experience is incorporated into national and international regulations.

Main research areas:

  • Aerobisation of waste landfills
  • New methods for quantifying methane emissions
  • Investigation of emissions from waste treatment plants
  • Analysis of odours and odorous substances using olfactometry
    and gas chromatographic methods ("sniffer port (GC-MS-o)")

 

 

Running research projects

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11,000 Gg of CO2 equivalents are generated annually from waste landfills. A reduction of these emissions by 500-2,500 Gg CO2 equivalents per year through landfill ventilation is a declared goal of the Federal Republic of Germany. To date, the central point for determining landfill gas emissions has been a calculation based on various assumptions such as the quantity of waste stored, the degradability of the waste stored, the methane content of the extracted landfill gas, the age of the deposit and the degree of coverage of the landfill gas collection system used. The Müdse project comprises three measurement scenarios at two landfills in the district of Waldshut. For each measurement, all three measurement methods are applied simultaneously at both landfills.

These are:

  • Inverse dispersion method (TDLAS measurement, wind field detection and computer-based modelling)
  • CHARM (Helicopter based Gas Detection System based on Infrared Laser Absorption)
  • FID inspection (concentration detection directly at the landfill surface)

First, a zero measurement is performed. The second measurement serves to verify the measuring methods. The third measurement is aimed at evaluating the installed climate protection measure. The aim of the project is to check the effectiveness of the stabilisation measures promoted by the NKI (National Climate Protection Initiative) with the help of the three different measurement methods and, if necessary, to achieve optimisation.

Funding:
Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Energy Baden-Württemberg

Project management:
Dr.-Ing. Martin Reiser

Processing:
Imke Wessel, M.Sc.

Project duration:
04/2018 – 05/2020

 

The EvEmBi project aims to evaluate different biogas plant concepts in Europe with regard to their methane emission factors. Based on the collected emission data, representative emission factors for different plant concepts of the biogas sector will be developed for use in the national greenhouse gas inventories. After quantification of methane emissions and identification of the main sources, emission reduction strategies for selected biogas plants will be developed, implemented and verified. This contributes to the development of position papers on greenhouse gas emissions and emission reduction strategies at national and European level. The knowledge gained will be transferred to the European biogas sector in the training workshops developed within the framework of the project.

Funding:
Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL)

Project management:
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Martin Kranert

Processing:
Dipl.-Met. Angela Vesenmaier, M.Sc.
Dr.-Ing. Martin Reiser

Project partners:

  • German Biomass Research Centre non-profit GmbH (DBFZ)
  • German Biogas Association (FvB)
  • Institute of Waste Management, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU)
  • BIOENERGY 2020+ GmbH (BE2020+)
  • Compost & Biogas Association Austria (KBVÖ)
  • AAT Biogas Technology (AAT)
  • Bern University of Applied Sciences (FHB)
  • Swiss Cooperative for Green Electricity (ÖS-CH)
  • Oester Messtechnik GmbH (Oester)
  • Research Institutes of Sweden AB (RISE)
  • Avfall Sverige (AVS)
  • Svenskt Vatten (SV)
  • Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
  • European Biogas Association (EBA)

Project duration:
04/2018 – 03/2021

 

Worldwide, agriculture, sanitation and waste management are mostly isolated, resulting in permanent nutrient losses and high levels of greenhouse gas emissions due to inadequate or excessive use of fertilisers. The main objective of the MasuceGEI project is to develop an innovative method to measure the impact of improved and sustainable treatment of coffee by-products through the production of high quality compost for use on coffee plantations in Costa Rica. Furthermore, the relationship between the nature and release of climate-relevant emissions from coffee plantations will be investigated, with a focus on nitrous oxide emissions (N2O), as nitrous oxide is the most relevant greenhouse gas (GHG) in this sector. Today, the coffee by-products are spread on the plantations or piled up on heaps without pre-treatment. In comparison to the greenhouse gas emissions and other environmentally harmful effects resulting from the previous handling of the by-products, these are to be reduced.

Extensive composting trials are being carried out to investigate and optimise the thermophilic degradation processes of by-products from coffee production and other mixed organic waste. The aim is to produce a nutrient-rich compost that can be used as a soil improver on coffee plantations. At the same time, nitrous oxide emission rates will be modelled to determine the formation and behaviour of this gas during the fertilisation period with compost in comparison to nitrogen fertilisers and to determine emission factors (EF).

The use of high-quality compost from coffee production by-products as a fertilizer is expected to reduce N2O, CH4 and CO2 emissions.  The use of high-quality compost can become a sustainable practice for the coffee sector, which can lead to a reduction in the use of mineral and nitrogen fertilisers. With this approach, the recycling of coffee by-products can lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Funding:
Cooperativa de Caficultores y Servicios Múltiples de Tarrazú R.L. (Coope Tarrazú)

Project managment:
Dr.-Ing. Martin Reiser

Processing:
Macarena San Martin Ruiz, M.Sc.

Project partners:

  • Coffee Institute of Costa Rica (Icafe)
  • Coope Tarrazú, Costa Rica

Project duration:
08/2018 – 06/2021

Emission spreading over an area (c)
Emission spreading over an area

Finished research projects

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Biogas plants emit methane, mainly through leakages, over-/underpressure protection, gas pipelines or open fermentation residue storage. In order to actively contribute to climate protection, it is essential to quantify the greenhouse gas emissions from these sources. At present, there is no uniform European method for determining the total emissions of biogas plants. The aim of the project is to harmonise the respective national attempts to quantify the emissions into a generally accepted procedure.

In Europe there is no emission regulation for diffuse methane emissions. However, methane is an effective greenhouse gas whose emission can have an impact on climate change. Estimated default values are usually used for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). There are national attempts to determine the total methane emissions from biogas plants. The exact quantification of the emissions from biogas plants is a considerable challenge, as the emissions can be very heterogeneous and time-dependent.

There are three main sources: Leakages, area sources (open fermentation residue storage) and waste gas/exhaust air. On-site measurements usually focus on one of these sources, while remote sensing measurements cover the total emissions. The different measurement methods in Europe are not yet standardised. Methane losses are directly linked to the economic and ecological plant balance, which can only be confirmed by verifiable quantification. In addition, the evaluation of the environmental impacts of biogas plants gives the possibility to increase the reputation of bioenergy in the public, especially since energy crops are used as substrate.

With the help of simultaneous trials carried out by all measurement teams from the consortium, the various measurement methods were evaluated and subsequently harmonised in two measurement campaigns. In the future, methane emissions from biogas plants will be quantified in a comparable way throughout Europe using a guideline.

Funding:
Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture

Project management:
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Martin Kranert

Processing:
Dr.-Ing. Martin Reiser
Dipl.-Met. Angela Vesenmaier, M.Sc.

Project partners:              

  • German Biomass Research Centre non-profit GmbH (DBFZ)
  • Institute of Waste Management, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU)
  • Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG)
  • Energiforsk - Swedish Energy Research Centre (EF)
  • Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE)
  • JOANNEUM RESEARCH RESEARCH SOCIETY MBH (JR)
  • Avfall Sverige (AS)
  • Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
  • Boreal Laser Inc. (Boreal)
  • Bioenergy 2020+ GmbH
  • National Physical Laboratory (NPL) (subcontract)

Project duration:
05/2017 - 02/2018

About 40 % of the annual amount of household waste is processed in a mechanical-biological waste treatment plant before it is landfilled. The waste gas produced during biological treatment is polluted and must meet the requirements of the 30th Federal Immission Control Ordinance. Regenerative thermal oxidation has established itself as the standard process. Due to this energy-intensive process, up to two thirds of the specific energy requirement is used only for flue gas cleaning. Within the framework of the EnAB and EnAB II research projects, the aim was to reduce the energy consumption of mechanical-biological waste treatment plants. In the course of extensive monitoring phases, the resulting exhaust gases could be characterised. The detailed knowledge of the exhaust gas composition is an important basis for the optimization of the exhaust gas cleaning technology.

A guideline for energy-efficient exhaust air treatment in mechanical-biological waste treatment plants was drawn up from the findings.

Funding:
Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi)

Project management:
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Martin Kranert

Processing:
Leonie Wittmann, M.Sc.
Dr.-Ing. Martin Reiser

Project partner:

  • Institute for Processing and Recycling (I.A.R.), RWTH Aachen University
  • Material cycle and compost management GmbH & Co KG (MKW), Großefehn
  • PlasmaAir AG, Weil der Stadt

Project duration:
08/2012 - 07/2015
11/2015 – 02/2018

Energy-efficient exhaust air treatment [de]

The aim of the project was to investigate the possibility of shortening the cost-intensive after-care period. As a rule, an abandoned landfill has to be monitored for decades. At a section of the Dorfweiher landfill in the Constance district, a method developed by the University of Stuttgart to accelerate the biological degradation of the deposited material was tested over a period of three years. As part of the investigation, more than 90 aeration lances were used to add atmospheric oxygen to the landfill body. For this purpose, a landfill section of 1.2 hectares, which had been closed down since 2003, was ventilated at certain intervals and the leachate recirculated. A surface filter for methane oxidation was applied to the landfill.

Funding:
Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Energy Baden-Württemberg

Project management:
Dr.-Ing. Martin Reiser

Processing:
Dr.-Ing. Martin Kieninger
Dr.-Ing. Daniel Laux
Dipl.-Ing. Matthias Rapf

Project partner:
Engineering company Lhotzky und Partner, Brunswick

Project duration:
2009 - 2014

Contact

Dieses Bild zeigt Reiser
Dr.-Ing.

Martin Reiser

Leader of "Emissions" (EMS)