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Monitoring of gas emissions at landfill sites using autonomous gas sensors

Kiernan, Breda M. and Beirne, Stephen and Fay, Cormac and Diamond, Dermot (2010) Monitoring of gas emissions at landfill sites using autonomous gas sensors. Project Report. STRIVE, Environmental Protection Agency. ISBN 978-1-84095-353-4

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Executive Summary This report details the work carried out during the Smart Plant project (2005-AIC-MS-43-M4). As part of this research, an autonomous platform for monitoring greenhouse gases (methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2)) has been developed, prototyped and field validated. The modular design employed means that the platform can be readily adapted for a variety of applications involving these and other target gases such as hydrogen sulfide (H2S), ammonia (NH3) and carbon monoxide (CO) and the authors are in the process of completing several short demonstrator projects to illustrate the potential of the platform for some of these applications. The field validation for the greenhouse gas monitoring platform was carried out at two landfill sites in Ireland. The unit was used to monitor the concentration of CO2 and CH4 gas at perimeter borehole wells. The final prototype was deployed for over 4 months and successfully extracted samples from the assigned perimeter borehole well headspace, measured them and sent the data to a database via a global system for mobile (GSM) communications. The data were represented via an updating graph in a web interface. Sampling was carried out twice per day, giving a 60-fold increase on current monitoring procedures which provide one gas concentration measurement per month. From additional work described in this report, a number of conclusions were drawn regarding lateral landfill gas migration on a landfill site and the management of this migration to the site’s perimeter. To provide frequent, reliable monitoring of landfill gas migration to perimeter borehole wells, the unit needs to: • Be fully autonomous; • Be capable of extracting a gas sample from a borehole well independently of personnel; • Be able to relay the data in near real time to a base station; and • Have sensors with a range capable of adequately monitoring gas events accurately at all times. The authors believe that a unit capable of such monitoring has been developed and validated. This unit provides a powerful tool for effective management of landfill site gases. The effectiveness of this unit has been recognised by the site management team at the long-term deployment trial site, and the data gathered have been used to improve the day-to-day operations and gas management system on-site. The authors make the following recommendations: 1. The dynamics of the landfill gas management system cannot be captured by taking measurements once per month; thus, a minimum sampling rate of once per day is advised. 2. The sampling protocol should be changed: (i) Borehole well samples should not be taken from the top of the well but should be extracted at a depth within the headspace (0.5–1.0 m). The measurement depth will be dependent on the water table and headspace depth within the borehole well. (ii) The sampling time should be increased to 3 min to obtain a steady-state measurement from the headspace and to take a representative sample; and (iii) For continuous monitoring on-site, the extracted sample should be recycled back into the borehole well. However, for compliance monitoring, the sample should not be returned to the borehole well. 3. Devices should be placed at all borehole wells so the balance on the site can be maintained through the gas management system and extraction issues can be quickly recognised and addressed before there are events of high gas migration to the perimeter. 4. A pilot study should be carried out by the EPA using 10 of these autonomous devices over three to five sites to show the need and value for this type of sampling on Irish landfill sites.

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Subjects:Computer Science > Computer networks
Physical Sciences > Environmental chemistry
Physical Sciences > Detectors
Engineering > Environmental engineering
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science and Health > School of Chemical Sciences
DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Engineering and Computing > School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Research Initiatives and Centres > CLARITY: The Centre for Sensor Web Technologies
Research Initiatives and Centres > National Centre for Sensor Research (NCSR)
Publisher:STRIVE, Environmental Protection Agency
Official URL:,28454,en.html
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. View License
Funders:Environmental Protection Agency, Science Foundation Ireland
ID Code:15390
Deposited On:24 May 2010 15:59 by Breda Kiernan. Last Modified 24 May 2010 15:59

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