First-of-its-kind Sustainable Landfill in Texas Becomes a Global Model

The City of Denton Landfill (Texas, USA) reportedly is the first in the world to implement “closed-loop waste management.” This technique combines landfill gas (LFG) capture with landfill mining to sort out and recover reusable and re-sellable plastics and metals, as well the remaining organic material for conversion to biomass energy pellets. Mining reduces the volume of material enough (by an estimated 95%) for the fill space itself to be re-used for new waste placement, thereby extending the life of the landfill essentially indefinitely (i.e., perpetual landfill). Dr. Sahadat Hossain, of the Solid Waste Institute for Sustainability (SWIS) at the University of Texas Arlington, developed this perpetual landfill model to be cost-efficient and potentially profitable. The roughly 20-year cyclical process significantly reduces the need for long-term environmental monitoring, one of the greatest legacy swis-logocosts of landfill management. It also reduces a municipality’s land acquisition costs for future landfill sites, while providing a revenue stream in the forms of cheap, locally-produced energy and reusable materials.

While the concept is readily applicable to U.S. solid waste management sites, even greater potential may reside in many developing countries, where open-pit landfills and open-air trash burning are common solid waste disposal methods. Many of the developing world’s cities do not have the same level of access to public and private funding for landfill projects as their counterparts in developed nations, and cannot readily afford greener and more sanitary forms of waste management. However, the profitability factor of the closed-loop technique, along with potential public health and environmental benefits, could be attractive to both budget-conscious policymakers and investors, creating potential for deployment worldwide (source: Al Jazeera). Speaking with Methane International, Dr. Hossain says SWIS and the City of Denton have already welcomed representatives from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, who plan to implement a closed-loop system for their city.

Another sign of global applicability is the group of international students and researchers eager to come to SWIS each year to learnwinter-school-students about emerging methods like this at a two-week “Winter School,” a hands-on landfill sustainability program hosted jointly with the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) and the City of Denton. Dr. Hossain and his team will welcome the Winter School’s 2017 class of up-and-coming landfill sustainability specialists to Arlington, Texas, on January 16-27, where GMI’s Tom Frankiewicz will be a featured presenter.

And the timing of the gathering couldn’t be better – it just happens to be January of 2017 that the nearby City of Denton’s new landfill system is expected to become fully operational.

GMI Attends its Second Climate and Clean Air Coalition Working Group Meeting

At the Global Methane Forum last March, GMI officially joined the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) as a non-state partner to ramp up collaboration on methane activities in the oil & gas, MSW, and agriculture sectors. GMI attended its first CCAC Working Group meeting as part of its new official capacity immediately after the Forum, and attended its second Working Group meeting last month in Paris, France. Monica Shimamura, Co-Director of the Administrative Support Group, represented GMI in Paris.

IISD Reporting Services created a useful meeting summary on the sessions, and we want to direct you to pages 8-10 of the summary, which focus on the CCAC Oil & Gas Initiative’s partner presentations and the upcoming High Level Assembly to take place at the Conference of Parties (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco next month. CCAC also posted its own readout with links to presentations and videos – Dr. Drew Shindell’s presentation titled ‘Climate Action – Reducing the Risk for Current and Future Generations’ is embedded below.

GMI will continue to keep stakeholders apprised on its collaboration with formal partners – the next joint meeting is with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane in Geneva, Switzerland on 24 October (register here). Stay tuned!

Anaerobic Digester Training Deck

GMI has finalized its interactive Anaerobic Digestion (AD) for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) instructional presentation. The presentation – designed to be reviewed by a group or individually – is a truly comprehensive collection of resources, including:

  • Introduction to AD for MSW
  • Overview of AD processes and technologies
  • Review of the benefits of AD
  • Review of the key areas to consider when developing an AD project
  • Assorted AD case studies and a review of AD worldwide

The presentation can be used sequentially, or by using its internal links to navigate between sections. Click below to start your tour!

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GMI Calendar – Exciting Upcoming Events

August is a slow month here in hot, sticky Washington, D.C., where your GMI Administrative Support Group (ASG) is based, but more exciting months are ahead. Here’s what’s coming up in September/October:

16th International Symposium and Exhibition on CBM/CMM and Shale Gas in China
12-14 September 2016: Jincheng, China
nios-logoHeld by the National Institute for Occupational Safety (NIOS) and the China Coal Information Institute (CCII), the International Symposium on CBM/CMM and Shale Gas in China is an international communication platform which brings together stakeholders to share experiences and project-oriented solutions to the problem of CBM/CMM development. The Symposium will also consider shale gas policies and development and commercialization strategies.

International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) World Congress
19-21 September 2016Novi Sad, Serbia
How will Southeast Europe reach the standards and goals of waste management set out in the EU directive? We know that countries such as Austria, Sweden, Netherlands and Japan took more than 30 years to reach their current high levels of effective waste management. Can Southeast Europe meets its deadline in a decade? How and at what cost? How will this be financed? Which technologies will be used? What types of laws and regulations are needed to achieve this? How will authorities communicate to citizens the choices before them? What kind of lessons can be learned from the successful or failed attempts of other countries? Which sciences and studies can be applied in the region? These are the topics, challenges and debates expected at ISWA World Congress in Novi Sad in 2016.

Climate and Clean Air Coalition Working Group Meeting
20-21 September 2016: Paris, France
CCAC_logoThe Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) will hold its biannual Working Group Meeting in Paris, following the last Working Group Meeting at the Global Methane Forum. The focus of this Working Group Meeting will be learning more about the progress and impact of CCAC initiatives through interactive sessions. It will also involve discussion and agreement on changes to the CCAC partnership and governance following the work of the Task Team, including changes to streamline the funding process, and preparations for the High Level Assembly (HLA) in Marrakesh on the margins of COP22. A member of the GMI ASG will attend to represent GMI in its new role as non-state Partner. As this meeting is not open to the public, stay tuned for our report on the meeting.

24th World Mining Congress: Mining in a World of Innovation
18-21 October 2016: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
world-mining-congress-logoThe World Mining Congress is a world mining event that takes place every 3 years. The event aims to promote and support, both technically and scientifically, the cooperation for the national and international development of mineral areas and resources, and implement a global information network concerning mineral science, technology, economy, occupational health and safety and environmental protection.

11th Session Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane / GMI Coal Subcommittee Meeting
24-25 October 2016: Geneva, Switzerland
The UNECE Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane (CMM) undertakes and promotes activities aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from coal mines. Apart from its focus on reduction of the carbon footprint of the mining industry, the Group of Experts also works toward the improvement of underground mine safety conditions. Through its activities in the field of methane recovery and use, the Group of Experts helps to reduce the risk of coal mine explosions, and thus helps to save lives and avoid large-scale economic losses.

 

 

Methane from Space, and Happy Birthday to MI!

Happy 1st Anniversary to the Methane International blog, which premiered on July 20, 2015! We hope you have found this format to be useful in learning about the latest GMI, methane, and climate news. The invitation from our first post still stands – please feel free to submit entries with our MI Article Submission Form!

This week we’d like to feature work from our American partner National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Earth Observatory blog. In March, they published a fantastic post chock full of charts and graphs on why methane matters and scientists’ work to quantify the effects of methane emissions. The March post features:

We especially enjoyed the handy charts and graphs, such as this useful graph with projections:

NASA-ch4-graph

(credit: NASA)

In a follow-up post this month, NASA rounded up the results of current methane studies. This post explains the following in plain language:

  • Why the agricultural sector (rice and livestock production) is likely the culprit of recent methane concentration increases;
  • How the U.S. has played an outsized role in global methane emissions increases; and
  • The role of satellites in the future of quantifying methane emissions.

We hope you will continue to return to the Methane International Blog as your one-stop shop on all methane news and global emission reduction activities!

 

University of Cincinnati Geologists Identify Sources of Methane in Ohio, Colorado, and Texas

CINCINNATI, Ohio, United States — Methane comes from various sources, like landfills, bacterial processes in water, cattle and fracking. In testing methane sources at three national sites, University of Cincinnati geologists found no evidence fracking affected methane concentrations in groundwater in Ohio. At sites in Colorado and Texas, methane sources were found to be mixed, divided between fracking, cattle and/or landfills […]

Source: University of Cincinnati Geologists Identify Sources of Methane, Powerful Greenhouse Gas, in Ohio, Colorado and Texas

Win a Scholarship to 2017 ISWA-SWIS Winter School

iswa-headerAlthough it’s high summer here in the Northern Hemisphere, the Global Methane Initiative is already glancing ahead to the 2017 ISWA-SWIS Winter School. The International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) will hold the conference on 16-27 January 2017, at the University of Texas at Arlington’s (UTA’s) Solid Waste Institute for Sustainability (SWIS). GMI has become an annual participant at the conference – last year, GMI’s own Tom Frankiewicz served as a presenter on the “Global Waste Management Perspective” panel discussion.

swis-logoThis year, SWIS is offering a chance to win a full scholarship to the Winter School through a sustainable waste management essay competition. Students and professionals from around the world are invited to write an essay on a specific aspect of solid waste management in their respective countries. The authors of the best essays will be awarded scholarships to attend the Winter School. Scholarships cover the following:

  • Free registration to the 2017 ISWA-SWIS Winter School at UTA
  • Lodging and transportation during their stay for the Winter School
  • Free air round-trip ticket from country of residence to DFW Airport, Dallas, Texas will be provided to a limited number of applicants

The deadline to apply for a Winter School scholarship is 15 September 2016 (Texas local time). Additional submission guidelines and rules are on ISWA’s website.

For more information about the Winter School itself, you can download the ISWA-SWIS brochure or check out the conference on ISWA’s Calendar of Events.

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