What is Everything You Need To Know About The Landfill Gas Method : Part 2
So, what actually is the landfill gas method?
Now that we have talked about the ERF and landfills (see Part 1), let’s move on to the landfill gas method (it will also make a lot more sense now that you are well-informed about how they all work).
What is the landfill gas method?
Emissions reduction methods set out the rules for approximating emissions reductions from varying activities. These methods ensure that emissions reductions are genuine – that they are both real and additional to business as usual operations. The landfill gas method contains approved, eligible activities under the Emissions Reduction Fund and are used in a landfill gas project.
What is a landfill gas project?
A landfill gas project, which utilises a landfill gas method, is conducted using the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative – Landfill Gas) Methodology Determination 2015. This document sets out the guidelines that must be followed in order to conduct activities under the ERF and, in turn, earn ACCUs. There are a variety of project types, including transport, mining and vegetation management projects, all of which utilise varying methods to help decrease greenhouse gas emissions. There are four different types of landfill gas projects, including :
- A project that gathers and combusts landfill gas through the process of installing a gas collection system into a site that has never had that sort of system there before
- A project that is upgrading existing equipment and systems
- A project in which gas collection has restarted using either an existing system or a brand new one (there are some time limitations on this option)
- A project that is transitioning from the CFI (Carbon Farming Initiative)
Therefore, both new and existing systems may be applicable to be used in a landfill gas project, depending on the circumstances.
How does the landfill gas method work?
To put it simply, the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative – Landfill Gas) Methodology Determination 2015 provides an incentive for organisations and individuals to upgrade any existing landfill gas collection systems, to start up non-operational systems again or install new systems and work on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The landfill gas method is the formula used to do this, and is utilised within a landfill gas project. The basics of some of the components of the method are listed below.
To begin, landfill gas has to come from somewhere – and that somewhere is landfill waste. Contained within landfill waste is what is known as biodegradable organic matter which, when decomposing, releases a series of gases such as methane. If a particular landfill site does not have systems in place to regulate and combust landfill gas, a large amount of methane is released into the air (which is not good, as methane is a polluting greenhouse gas).
Elements of the landfill gas method
If there is a project that is utilising the landfill gas method, there are three main elements that must be included :
- The upgrading of a landfill gas collection system, the recommissioning of an existing one or the installation of a new one
- The gathering of landfill gas from the relevant landfill site/s
- The combustion of the landfill gas that has been collected
As mentioned above, the collected landfill gas is to be combusted via an approved combustion device. Through this combustion process, methane is converted into carbon dioxide (CO₂), which is a lot less potent and polluting than methane. ACCUs are earned for the destruction of methane from waste deposited before 1 July 2012 and after 30 June 2014 (periods before and after the carbon tax).
The CO₂ that is created through the combustion process can then be used for other things, such as generating renewable energy or to heat boilers. Alternatively, it can also be used onsite or be sold back. Renewable energy projects of this kind may be able to generate renewable energy certificates under the Renewable Energy Target.
How is the landfill gas method used?
A landfill gas method is used as part of a landfill gas project, which must be assessed, processed and approved by the Clean Energy Regulator before commencement. Some components to this process are below.
Before you commence a landfill project that uses the landfill gas method, you must first ensure you are eligible and, if you are, ensure you are aware of the ongoing requirements of that kind of project. You must ensure your proposed landfill gas collection system sits within one of the four types listed in landfill project types above and that the combustion device has a minimum 98% destruction rate. You must also ensure you have the legal right to conduct the project and are completely aware of any and all legal requirements to keep the project going for the required period of time.
One of the absolute key components that must be carefully monitored throughout a landfill gas project is the amount of methane that is collected, and also the amount of methane that is subsequently combusted. There are a few ways in which this can be measured, including:
- The amount of landfill gas that is methane (this can be found through a direct measurement of by using a default value)
- The amount of energy located in the landfill gas that is being sent to the combustion device
- The passage of landfill gas that is being sent to the combustion device
- The amount of electricity that is being produced from landfill gas combustion in an internal combustion engine
Reporting and Auditing
The individuals and/or owners of a landfill gas project must use one of the approaches that are found in the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Measurement) Determination 2008 to model the landfill gas that is created in the relevant landfill. It is crucial to keep updated records as to how your project is going, as regular reports will need to be provided as to emissions reductions and levels. Projects must also be audited by a registered greenhouse and energy (NGER) auditor.
Continue reading at Everything You Need To Know About The Landfill Gas Method : Part 3.
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