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Innovative Methods for Residual Landfill Gas Emissions Mitigation in Mediterranean Regions (LIFE RE Mida)
Start date: Jan 1, 2016, End date: Dec 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background The generation of LandFill Gases (LFG), produced by the anaerobic decomposition of the organic waste fraction in landfills, is one of the main environmental challenges facing climate change mitigation. The waste management sector is the fourth largest sector in the EU-15 in terms of its contribution to total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; despite significant improvements (40% emission reduction) between 1990 and 2012. LFG is mainly composed of methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2), and its production lasts for several decades until the majority of the organic material is fully degraded. Both CO2 and CH4 are considered powerful GHGs. In particular CH4 is a large potential contributor to climate change, with a high global warming potential and remaining a long time in the atmosphere. Although the greatest GHG emission reduction in the waste disposal sector was due to a cut in CH4 emissions, it still accounts for 66% of waste-related emissions. Objectives The RE Mida project’s overall objective is to demonstrate the technical, economic and environmental suitability of an innovative method to treat LFG with low calorific value, through microbial CH4 oxidation to reduce its contribution to the greenhouse effect. The process naturally occurs in covered landfill once CH4 and oxygen (O2) counter gradients are in place. The behaviour and performance of this process is affected by several local climate factors, such as temperature and water content in the landfill covers. Specifically, the project aims to: Test an innovative technique to promote CH4 oxidation for the first time in a Mediterranean climate; and Demonstrate the efficacy of microbial CH4 oxidation systems for the mitigation of non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) and odorous compound emissions with particular reference to hydrogen sulphide (H2S). The project results should stimulate the implementation and upgrade of the EU Landfill Directive, with particular reference to the treatment of LFG with low calorific value that is technically and/or economically unsuitable using conventional technology. Expected results: The demonstration of the suitability of an innovative technology for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions relating to the management of residual LFG with low calorific value; Implementation of two pilot biofiltration systems to demonstrate the efficacy of microbial CH4 oxidation in Mediterranean climates, with an expected CH4 mitigation efficiency of 90% and reductions of about 29 tons of CH4 emitted per year corresponding to 800 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions; Testing of the efficiency of the pilot systems for the mitigation of NMVOCs and odorous emissions (H2S) through at least four monitoring campaigns of these compounds and the analysis of their concentrations in the input and output LFG flows; Assessment of the quantitative environmental benefits of the processes according to the Life Cycle Assessment method and to evaluate their relevance to national scenarios (evaluation of the potential avoided impacts); Assessment of the technical and economic viability of a full-scale installation; Drawing up of regional guidelines for the management and the treatment of LFG with low calorific value and present them at the coordination assembly between state and regions in order to promote a discussion of the EU Landfill Directive on this topic and to encourage new legislative measures; and Dissemination of the project results and involvement of stakeholders dealing with landfill management in spreading the innovative and sustainable methods for residual LFG management and treatment.

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