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Can't Pass this Gas: Biogas, Biocovers and Biosolids in a Climate of Change

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Abstract:

As awareness of global warming increases, greenhouse gas (GHG) production and technologies for investigating its impacts are receiving more attention. Among compounds contributing to the greenhouse effect, methane (CH4) is conspicuous by its global warming potential in comparison to carbon dioxide (CO2) and the fine balance between CH4 sources and sinks. This slim margin means it is possible to tip the balance towards decreasing atmospheric CH4 concentration through a minor reduction in anthropogenic production. Biogas production in landfills is a source of CH4 with potential for effective mitigation. While gas collection and reuse systems can be effective, they are not appropriate for all landfills.

Biosolids have been used for final landfill cover through incorporation into fabricated soils. The use of biosolids in landfill closure provides the opportunity for a cost-effective and long-lasting CH4 mitigation system: CH4 oxidation in biocovers. A biocover is an engineered soil which provides habitat for methanotrophic bacteria, and exhibits specific properties to aid dispersion and subsequent treatment of gas migrating from the underlying waste mass or closure components. Research has quantified the oxidation potential of various types of residuals and composts, and various designs for landfill biocovers and biofilters have been explored. Incorporating biosolids into an interim or final landfill cover represents a two-fold benefit; it is an innovative biosolids management option and a mechanism for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Keywords: Greenhouse gas; biosolids; landfill closure; methane

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2175/193864709793846817

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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