Landfill Methane Emissions: A Hidden Climate Challenge Unveiled at Upcoming RNG Conference

LandfillPhoto by Tom Fisk on

PENN VALLEY, PA — An alarming report highlighting previously undetected, significant methane emissions from U.S. landfills will take center stage at the Appalachian Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) Conference this April. The study, a collaborative effort between Arizona State University (ASU), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Carbon Mapper, and Scientific Aviation, surveyed over 200 active U.S. landfills, revealing persistent super-emitting methane plumes.

Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, contributes to climate change at a rate far exceeding that of carbon dioxide in the short term. According to the EPA, landfills are the third-largest source of human-caused methane emissions in the U.S., accounting for 14.3% of such emissions in 2021. This figure equates to the greenhouse gas emissions produced by more than 23 million gasoline-powered cars driven for one year.

Tom Gellrich, CEO and Founder of RNG Directory, criticized the current state of landfill methane monitoring as “grossly inadequate.” He called on the EPA to launch a comprehensive program to tackle this pressing environmental issue. “This study underscores the urgent need for action to address landfill methane emissions,” Gellrich stated.

The presentation of the ASU Landfill Study at the Hilton Garden Inn at Southpointe/Pittsburgh on April 18, 2024, aims to inform landfill operators about the severity of methane emissions from their facilities. The conference will also explore how converting methane to renewable natural gas (RNG) could offer an effective and profitable remedy.

Gellrich noted that many landfill owners might be unaware of the study’s findings and the extent to which their operations contribute to methane emissions. “Landfills are referred to as super-emitters, releasing methane at substantially greater levels than oil and natural gas companies,” he said.

The rapid advancements in RNG technology present landfill operators with an opportunity to transform a significant environmental challenge into a lucrative solution. By converting landfill methane into RNG, operators can reduce greenhouse gas emissions while generating renewable energy.

“We encourage landfill owners to attend our Appalachian RNG Conference to understand the RNG opportunities available to them,” Gellrich added. The event promises to be a pivotal moment for industry stakeholders to learn, collaborate, and take decisive steps toward mitigating one of the hidden drivers of climate change.

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