Landfill gas is the natural byproduct of the actions of anaerobic bacteria that cause the organic matter that exists within a landfill to decompose. Undiluted landfill gas typically has a composition of between 40% and 60% methane and roughly 45% carbon dioxide with lesser amounts of hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and minute concentrations of other gases. The emission of landfill gas is a major contributor to the buildup of methane in the atmosphere. The migration of the landfill gas underground can also cause groundwater contamination or has the potential to build up in a closed area or a building and become an explosive hazard. Methane, if released into the atmosphere, is 28 times more destructive to the ozone than carbon dioxide.
This project captures and destroys methane from the landfill via a system of gas wells, conveyance piping, and condensate removal equipment, and destroys the gas at open flare.
Voluntary carbon offset projects must demonstrate additionality, i.e., that the emission reductions resulting from the project are additional to that which would have occurred in the absence of the project activity, or in a “business as usual” scenario. For LFG projects, there are two tests that must be met to prove the projects additionality factor:
Performance Standard Test
Landfill gases from Maple Hill had never previously been collected and destroyed prior to the project start date. Therefore, the construction of this landfill gas collection and control system qualifies as a new qualifying destruction device at an eligible landfill.
Legal Requirement Test
For the Legal Requirement Test, project proponents must ensure that emission reductions achieved by the Project would not have occurred in the baseline case due to federal, state, or local regulations.
The results of the regulatory review at Maple Hill proved the landfill is already in compliance with Federal, State and Local regulations. There are no laws, statutes, regulations, court orders, environmental mitigation agreements, permitting conditions, or other legally binding mandates requiring the destruction of landfill gas. Thus, it is clear that the construction of this landfill gas collection and control system was undertaken for environmental benefit and for revenue from the sale of the resulting carbon credits.