Fluxes of methane between landfills and the atmosphere: natural and engineered controls. Bogner, J; Meadows, M; Czepiel, P.
Soil Use and Management:
Field measurement of landfill methane (CH4) emissions indicates natural variability spanning more than seven orders of magnitude, from less than 0.0004 to more than 4000 g/m2 per day. This wide range reflects net emissions resulting from production (methanogenesis), consumption (methanotrophic oxidation), and gaseous transport processes. The determination of an ‘average’ emission rate for a given field site requires sampling designs and statistical techniques which consider spatial and temporal variability. Moreover, particularly at sites with pumped gas recovery systems, it is possible for methanotrophic microorganisms in aerated cover soils to oxidize all of the CH4 from landfill sources below and, additionally, to oxidize CH4 diffusing into cover soils from atmospheric sources above. In such cases, a reversed soil gas concentration gradient is observed in shallow cover soils, indicating bidirectional diffusional transport to the depth of optimum CH4 oxidation. Rates of landfill CH4 oxidation from field and laboratory incubation studies range up to 166 g/m2 per day, among the highest for any natural setting, providing an effective natural control on net emissions. It has been shown that methanotrophs in landfill soils can adapt rapidly to elevated CH4 concentrations with increased rates of CH4 oxidation related to depth of oxygen penetration, soil moisture, and the nutrient status of the soil. Estimates of worldwide landfill CH4 emissions to the atmosphere have ranged from 9 to 70 Tg/y, differing mainly in assumed CH4 yields from estimated quantities of landfilled refuse. At highly controlled landfill sites in developed countries, landfill CH4 is often collected via vertical wells or horizontal collectors. Recovery of landfill CH4 through engineered systems can provide both environmental and energy benefits by mitigating subsurface migration, reducing surface emissions, and providing an alternative energy resource for industrial boiler use, on-site electrical generation, or upgrading to a substitute natural gas. Manipulation of landfill cover soils to maximize their oxidation potential could provide a complementary strategy for controlling CH4 emissions, particularly at older sites where the CH4 concentration in landfill gas is too low for energy recovery or flaring. For the future, it is necessary to better quantify net emissions relative to rates of CH4 production, oxidation, and transport. Field measurements, manipulative studies, and model development are currently underway at various spatial scales in several countries
Fluxes of methane from rice fields and potential for mitigation. Neue, H U.
Soil Use and Management:
Methane (CH4) is an important greenhouse gas. Flooded rice fields (paddies) are a significant source of atmospheric CH4; estimates of the annual emission from paddies range from less than 20 to 100 million Tg, with best estimates of 50 × 20 Tg. The emission is the net result of opposing bacterial processes: production in anaerobic microenvironments, and consumption and oxidation in aerobic microenvironments, both of which occur sequentially and concurrently in flooded rice soils. With current technologies, CH4 emission from rice fields will increase as production increases. Over the next 25 years rice production will have to increase by 65% from the present 460 Mt/y to 760 Mt/y in 2020. The current understanding of the processes controlling CH4 fluxes, rice growth and rice production is sufficient to develop mitigation technologies. Promising candidates are changes in water management, rice cultivars, fertilization, and cultural practices. A significant reduction of CH4 emission from rice fields, at the same time that rice production and productivity increase at the farm level, is feasible, although the regions where particular practices can be applied, and the trade-offs that are possible, have still to be identified.