Turning a Liability into an Asset: Landfill Methane Recovery in India
Solid waste disposal sites are not often seen as opportunities for energy solutions. The waste that is disposed in open dumps and landfills generates methane and other gases as it decomposes, causing concerns about explosions, odours, and, increasingly, about the contribution of methane to global climate change. However, the liability of landfill gas (LFG) can be turned into an asset. Many countries regularly capture LFG as a strategy to improve landfill safety, generate electricity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to earn carbon emission reduction credits (e.g. 40% for the United States, 25% for Australia).
Many projects in developing countries are taking advantage of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to earn carbon credits by capturing and combusting methane (e.g., the Sudokwon Landfill in Republic of South Korea, the Bandeirantes Landfill in Brazil and the Nanjing Tianjingwa Landfill in China). These Landfill Gas to Energy (LFGE) projects provide a valuable service to the environment and a potentially profitable business venture, providing benefits to local and regional communities.