Landfill Gas Capture

CCP-Approved methodologies include Landfill Gas Capture. What is it and why is it important to tackle?

What’s the challenge?

As organic waste decomposes in landfill, it releases methane, a greenhouse gas much stronger than carbon dioxide (CO2) in heating the atmosphere. Reducing methane emissions is a crucial and urgent aspect of non-CO2 mitigation efforts to ensure we stay on track with the Paris climate goals.

Global warming potential (GWP) measures how much climate impact a greenhouse gas has compared to CO2. It’s typically measured over a 100-year timeframe, although other timeframes can also be used. Methane’s GWP is 28 times more harmful over a 100-year timeframe, but increases significantly to 81 over a 20-year timeframe, showing its powerful short-term impact on the climate.

The increasing amount of municipal waste worldwide leads to more methane emissions, a serious challenge in fighting the climate crisis. We need to manage these emissions and address their impact on global warming, air quality, groundwater sources and human health.

We need quick and effective solutions to capture and convert methane into less harmful CO2 and useful energy. Given its high short-term impact on the climate, reducing methane quickly reduces the rate of temperature increase, providing a critical window to implement longer-term climate strategies.

Illustration: Converting landfill gas to renewable energy: A six-step process from waste collection to methane utilisation.

Landfill Gas Capture (LGC) involves capturing, treating, and using the methane from decomposing waste as a renewable energy resource.

One important use of LGC is the production of Renewable Natural Gas (RNG). Through this process, landfill gas is refined to meet the same standards as natural gas. This means it can be injected into natural gas distribution networks and delivered to consumers for various applications, such as gas for home heating.

LGC can also produce biofuels like liquefied natural gas for transportation, that reduce methane emissions and replace fossil fuels, effectively lowering overall emissions.

Landfill Gas Capture reduces greenhouse gas emissions and produces renewable energy, supporting sustainability by turning methane into a useful resource. This helps create a stronger and more diverse energy system.

Using this technology at landfill sites can also reduce odours and other dangers from methane emissions, improving air quality and protecting human health.

A full list of approved Landfill Gas (LFG) methodologies, along with those still in assessment, can be found in our assessment status table.

As of January 2024, Landfill Gas (LFG) credits represent ca. 5% (or about 91 million credits) of total credits issued in the voluntary carbon market. Of this, estimated 15 million issued credits are affected by a decision for CCP approval to date.

Large excavator working on a landfill site at dusk.

Learn about the other part of the ICVCM’s two tick process – the assessment of categories of carbon credits.

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