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Title: Clean technology for landfill gas recovery
Organization:TERI and Jamia Milia Islamia
Source:The Energy and Resources Institute

Methane is produced through the natural process of the bacterial decomposition of organic waste under anaerobic conditions in sanitary landfills and open dumps. After carbon dioxide, methane is considered the most harmful of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. Methane makes up approximately 50% of landfill gas, the rest is CO2 mixed with small quantities of other gases. If Landfill Gas (LFG) is not collected, it escapes into the atmosphere.


It is a common practise in developed countries to capture the methane so released from landfills, as a strategy to improve landfill safety, reduce odours, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to earn carbon credits.


By virtue of its population, India is one of the largest emitters of methane from solid waste disposal, currently producing approximately 16 Mt CO2 eq per year and is predicted to increase to almost 20 Mt CO2 eq per year by 2020. A study using the Integrated Assessment Model for developing countries gives a much higher estimate of 48 Mt CO2 eq per year by 2020 and 76 Mt CO2 eq per year by 2030. With nearly 5100 cities, and mostly all having one or more landfill sites, efforts to control, capture and utilize this second largest source of methane emissions are yet to be made.


The Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000 stipulates that LFG control system be installed, including a gas collection system at the landfill sites in order to minimize odour, prevent off site migration of harmful gases and to protect flora on the rehabilitated landfill site.


The project to demonstrate the feasibility of using LFG in a productive manner from deep waste disposal sites using indigenously developed LFG recovery, extraction and cleaning technology, was jointly awarded to The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Jamia Milia Islamia, by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.


Figure 1: Graphical representation and layout plan of LFG treatment, conditioning and flaring system for Okhla landfill site

Source: Demonstration of Clean Technology for Landfill Gas Recovery at Okhla Waste Disposal site, New Delhi, India. TERI Press. 2013

Outcome/Benefits: This demonstration was the pilot project for the clean technology extraction of LFG is a success. Through this extraction, not only do we are able to utilize an available source of energy which was otherwise wasted, but are in effect substituting fossil fuels by a clean renewable energy. The carbon credit potential of this extraction process is phenomenal. Methane being one of the harmful of GHG’s is being efficiently controlled. Also, if this process is correctly incentivized, it will lead to an improvement in the operating conditions of existing waste disposal sites and their safe rehabilitation.

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