Landfill gas

Closed 12 Jan 2015

Opened 12 Jan 2015

Published Responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.

Overview

The Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Methodology (Landfill Gas) Determination 2015 was made on 12 January 2015

Project applications to implement the Methodology Determination may be made to the Clean Energy Regulator.

About this method

Landfill gas is generated when organic material decays in the anaerobic conditions of landfills. Waste in landfills can take decades to decay, meaning landfill gas is generated long after waste is first deposited, including at landfills which are closed to new waste. Methane comprises about half the composition of landfill gas and is a potent greenhouse gas.

The Determination provides an incentive to install new landfill gas collection systems, upgrade existing systems or recommence operation of non-operational systems.

The methane in the collected gas is then destroyed through combustion. Credits are given for the destruction of emissions from waste deposited before 1 July 2012 and after 30 June 2014 (periods before and after the carbon tax).

Who could it benefit?

This method could benefit:

  • landfill operators who install new landfill gas collection and combustion systems
  • operators of a system that was registered as a Carbon Farming Initiative project, who will now be able to receive credits for destroying methane generated by waste disposed after the carbon tax was repealed.

How does it work

Landfill waste contains biodegradable organic matter. As this organic matter decomposes it releases gases such as methane. Landfills that do not collect and combust landfill gas release large amounts of methane to the atmosphere.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change.

There are three main elements to undertaking a project using this method:

  • installing, upgrading or recommissioning a landfill gas collection system
  • collecting the landfill gas from the landfills
  • combusting the collected landfill gas

Through the combustion process, methane is converted to carbon dioxide, which is a much less potent greenhouse gas than methane.

The collected gas can be used to heat boilers and to generate renewable electricity. This electricity could be used on site or sold back into the electricity grid.

These sorts of renewable energy projects may also be able to generate renewable energy certificates under the Renewable Energy Target.

Eligibility

The landfill gas collection system used in the project must be one of the following:

  • a system that operated as a Carbon Farming Initiative project immediately before the Emissions Reduction Fund started
  • a new collection system installed at a landfill where no collection system was previously installed
  • a system that is new or re-commissioned at a landfill where a collection system has operated in the past, but not since 24 April 2014 and not in the three years prior to the project applying under the Emissions Reduction Fund
  • an existing collection system that has been upgraded to collect more landfill gas generated in the landfill. To set a baseline for this type of project, it is necessary to have at least two years of data on the operation of the collection system prior to the upgrade.

The devices used to combust the collected landfill gas must be a flare, boiler, internal combustion engine or another device designed to have a minimum 98 per cent destruction efficiency and whose combustion process can be detected on a minute by minute basis. All combustion devices must be operated in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications.

Monitoring, reporting and auditing

One of the key aspects that needs to be monitored is the amount of methane collected and combusted. This can be done by measuring one of the following:

  • the flow of landfill gas that is sent to the combustion device
  • the proportion of landfill gas that is methane (determined either by direct measurement or using a default value)
  • the amount of energy in the landfill gas that is sent to the combustion device
  • the amount of electricity produced from the combustion of landfill gas in an internal combustion engine.

Project owners must use one of the approaches in the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Measurement) Determination 2008 to model the landfill gas that is generated in the landfill. Depending on which approach is used, there may be other monitoring requirements, such as the amount of waste disposed of in a landfill.

It is important to keep project records because you will need to submit regular reports on your project and the emissions reductions it has achieved. Monitoring, record-keeping and reporting requirements are specified in legislative rules and in the method. Projects must be audited by a registered greenhouse and energy (NGER) auditor. A list of registered auditors is available on the Clean Energy Regulator website.

Tools

The ERF Landfill Gas Calculator has been developed to assist project proponents to calculate abatement of greenhouse gases by collecting and combusting landfill gas from a landfill.
ERF Landfill Gas Calculator

Macros

Note: The ERF Landfill Gas Calculator requires that users enable macros after opening the file to ensure its correct operation. A guide to enabling macros can be accessed here.

Development of this method

Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee (ERAC) advice

The ERAC's advice to the Minister regarding the suitability of the Determination to be made is published here, in accordance with Section 106(11) (C) of the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011.

Public consultation

A draft method determination for Landfill Gas was released for public comment.

Draft determination and explanatory statement

Note: A draft method determination that is open for public comment should not be relied upon for planning an ERF project. Draft method determinations may be modified following public consultation and are not final until made by the Minister for the Environment.

Further information

Department of the Environment

Clean Energy Regulator

Audiences

  • Emissions Reduction Fund
  • Climate Change

Interests

  • Climate Change
  • Emissions Reduction Fund