The EPA has launched the Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP), a voluntary program that encourages waste managers and other stakeholders in the landfill industry to reduce methane emissions from landfill sites. Rather than being released into the atmosphere as a potent greenhouse gas, Landfill Methane Outreach Program promotes the recovery of landfill gas, which is comprised largely of methane that is produced as a byproduct of decaying organic matter on municipal solid waste landfills as methane producing bacteria decompose organic matter on landfills in an anaerobic environment. The captured gas can then be used as a viable and valuable source of energy. Landfill gas is a natural biogas that contains methane, which when released into the atmosphere contributes heavily to global warming. Yet, landfill gas can be captured and the methane component utilized as a renewable source of energy that can be used by power plants, the manufacturing industry, or even to run vehicles. By capturing the biogas produced on landfills we not only tap into a readily available and renewable natural source of energy, we reduce greenhouse gas emissions and atmospheric pollution, which in turn results in environmental and health benefits. Furthermore, capturing and utilizing landfill gas as a renewable energy resource provides employment opportunities within the industry, generates additional income for landfill sites, and can reduce the demand for non-renewable fossil fuel energy sources. Its a win-win scenario all round. Recognizing the benefits above, the EPA's Landfill Methane Outreach Program partners with landfill owners and operators, as well as other stakeholders, offering support to help them overcome obstacles that may prevent them from developing a landfill gas capture project on their site. The Landfill Methane Outreach Program provides the following support services to stakeholders interested in initiating a landfill gas capture project:
- They offer technical support, training guides, and computer software to help stakeholders conduct a feasibility study to assess whether a potential landfill gas energy project is indeed viable.
- They provide information pertaining to the benefits of utilizing captured landfill gas as a renewable energy source, together with advice on how existing municipal solid waste landfills can reduce methane emissions.
- They foster partnerships with key stakeholders and assist with identifying finance partners willing to fund landfill gas projects.
- They provide a platform for stakeholders to network with renewable energy experts and others in the industry, offering a support base where they can collectively discuss and address any issues that may arise.
The Landfill Methane Outreach Program offers online resources and training, including online training webinars. The next training webinar on the topic of Wellfield Operations and Technologies for Upgrading Landfill Gas is scheduled for the 16th November 2017, at 1pm Eastern Standard Time. The webinar will be given by two speakers who will give a presentation on landfill gas energy projects that convert landfill gas into high-Btu gas and fuel suitable for running vehicles, specifically focusing on the unique operational considerations of upgraded landfill gas projects. Interested parties can register for the webinar online. Considering that in 2015 municipal solid waste landfills were the 3rd largest source of human-related methane, contributing around 15.4% of all anthropogenic methane emissions released in the US alone, the EPA's Landfill Methane Outreach Program is a step in the right direction, and will hopefully empower other MSW landfills with the resources and support to help expand he landfill gas capture network across the country.
Featured Image by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources