Better knowledge for a better life

Dipl.-Ing.(TU) Werner P. Bauer

In our rapidly changing times, we are flooded with information, have too little time to identify what is really important and forget some of the content. For this reason, I would like to refer again today, or for the first time (I've forgotten), to an article in Science News from November 14, 2019.

The article reports on how the largest sources of methane release can now be detected by a combination of satellite and remote sensing by airplane or drone.
It is titled:

California landfills are belching high levels of climate-warming methane

The message is as simple as it is irritating:

„A team of researchers used airborne remote sensing to pinpoint the exact locations of some of California’s biggest belchers of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Of those concentrated "superemitters,” landfills were the biggest sources in the Golden State, followed by dairy farms and the oil and gas industry (SN: 11/18/15).
About 34 to 46 percent of California’s methane emissions comes from 564 point sources, small surface features or bits of infrastructure no more than 10 meters in diameter that still emit large amounts of the gas, the team found.”

"Among those point sources, there were standouts: Landfills contributed 41 percent of emissions. Dairies and the oil and gas sector contributed 26 percent each, Riley Duren, an electrical engineer and research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and colleagues report November 6 in Nature.”

I wonder if the results only apply to California, or if they also apply to other countries.

Searching for the state of California in the Carbon Mappers New Data Portal research prototype, the Methane Summary Statistics show 74.8 K Point Source Emissions Total (kg CH4/hr), 2538 Plumes detected, and 1126 Emission Sources detected. The three main sources contributing to the Point Source Emissions being 30 K from Solid Waste, 21.4 K from Oil and Gas and 19 K from Livestock. Meaning these three sectors account for the 94 % of the emissions.

Carbon mapper non-profit organization exists to help accelerate action to mitigate human impacts to earth's climate and ecosystems by providing operators and regulators data that is precise, timely and accessible to guide decision making. Through a unique partnership carbon mappers goal is to make methane and CO2 emissions visible, transparent, and actionable. Carbon mappers plan has 3 parts. 1) Involves using advanced remote sensing technology to pin point methane emissions, 2) includes satellites to detect 80% of methane and CO2 super emitters and 3) maximizes impact by engaging stakeholders.
Werner Bauer
Vice President WtERT Global Council


Thank you for this Newsletter bringing to our attention, the very important paper in Nature (November 2019).
The authors reported/measured California landfill emissions to be 262,800 metric tons of CH4. I compared their number to the estimate made in the Themelis and Bourtsalas 2021 paper. We estimated (see below) the CH4 emission from California landfills (Table 3) to be 519,000 metric tons. Considering that the Nature paper was based on the visible-from-air sources of emissions ("plumes"), the agreement of these two numbers is remarkable. NJT

CA landfills 30k kg/h CH4

Per year CH4 emission 30x24x365 262,800 metric tons

MSW landfilled in CA LMOP landfills 2.48E+07 short tons

Max captured CH4, 0.027 t CH4/ton MSW
Minimum emissions 0.023 t CH4/ton MSW
Per year, 0.023*2.48E7= 5.70E+05 short tons/year
Per year, 0.023*2.48E7/1.1 5.19E+05 metric tons
Per year CH4 emission 519,000 metric tons
02.02.2024 17:54:54

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