Measuring and Monitoring Landfill Gas With Thermal Mass Flow Meters

Thermal mass flow meters excel in measuring and monitoring landfill gas at landfills or solid waste facilities.

    1. Methane Gas Monitoring From the Gas Well Side
    2. Pre-treatment Before Measurement
    3. Downstream of Scrubbers
    4. Return Gas Line to Landfill
    5. Gas Flow Rate to Generator or Co-generation Facility

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Landfill Gas Composition

Landfill gas (LFG) is produced from the decay of organic material at solid waste facilities; typically food scraps, waste paper, and cardboard. A collection system at the landfill includes extraction wells and a series of manifolds that connect the central manifold and blower.

Landfill gas is composed of approximately 50% methane and 50% carbon dioxide. This ratio of gases will change over the life of the landfill and will vary from site to site, depending upon the landfill’s composition. Furthermore, the gas composition can change seasonally depending on the weather.

Landfill gas may be disposed of by flaring it at the facility which is a standard solution for small landfills. More extensive operations may feed the gas to a boiler or engine for onsite energy production. Optionally, the landfill gas may be sold for the production of electricity.  Whereas, in other cases, the gas is treated and transported into a natural gas pipeline.

flaring gas
Small landfills typically flare the gas on the property.

Measuring Landfill Fuel Gas

Because the thermal mass flow meter has excellent low-flow sensitivity, it excels at measuring the fuel gases produced at landfills. The gas produced at the landfill is very low flow and very low pressure. These flow rates are, in fact, too small for other flowmeter technologies, such as differential pressure, turbine meters, and vortex meters to accurately measure the fuel gas.

Landfill Gas After Conditioning and Cogeneration

Many landfills condition the gas to fuel electrical generators. In this case, the gas is dried and filtered and must be measured accurately for custody transfer and billing applications, as well as combustion optimization in the electrical generation process.

A thermal mass flow meter has a wide turndown range and extremely low flow sensitivity and provides the most accurate and reliable meter for this application.

If you would like more information about measuring landfill gas flow throughout the facility, download our Landfill Gas Flow Monitoring and Flaring technical note.

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