Home Science Large methane emissions detected in landfills in Madrid

Large methane emissions detected in landfills in Madrid

Large methane emissions detected in landfills in Madrid

High-resolution satellites have detected significant amounts of methane in adjacent landfills near the center of Madrid. Thanks to the mission data Copernicus Sentinel-5P, combined with commercial footage from the Canadian constellation GHGSat, scientists at the Dutch Institute for Space Research SRON and the US company itself found that the two landfills together emitted 8,800 kg of methane per hour in August 2021, the highest amount observed in Europe by GHGSat.

The SRON researchers first identified the area with methane hotspot mapping using Sentinel-5P’s Tropomi instrument. The GHGSat team then used their satellites to detect methane plumes in the August 20th and October 13th, 2021, which emanated from two landfills separated by about six kilometers, located only 18 kilometers from the center of Madrid.

Observations from the Sentinel-5P and GHGSat satellites found that this August two landfills near the city of Madrid jointly emitted 8,800 kg of methane per hour

The first observation came just days after the Spanish capital recorded the highest temperature in its history for a year. heat wave which burned much of southern Europe.

The largest source released methane at a rate close to 5,000 kg per hour, and satellite imagery showed a cloud of greenhouse gas moving towards nearby homes. The cause of the emissions is currently unknown, but data has been shared with the landfill operator.

European directive on methane

The 1999 European Landfill Directive requires EU landfill operators to capture the gas created by the decomposition of organic matter and use it to generate energy or burn it through the flaming or on. At the rate of methane loss from Madrid’s landfills, around 350,000 homes could be supplied with energy.

With the rate of methane loss from Madrid’s landfills, energy could be supplied to around 350,000 homes

Recent studies suggest that at least a quarter of global warming Man-induced is due to methane, a greenhouse gas about 85 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in 20 years. European policy makers have pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 from 1990 levels.

According to European Union Methane Strategy, published in October 2020, 26% of the continent’s methane emissions come from waste. Worldwide, landfills and landfills are estimated to be responsible for ​​8-10% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.

O Most landfills in Europe and the US are ‘sanitary’ and are sealed to protect them from the elements and the environment. However, in countries in Asia, Africa and South America, waste often ends up in open dumps. They can be 200 hectares or more and receive more than 10,000 tons of waste per day. They are known sources of air and water pollution.

Landfills that emit methane worldwide

Madrid is not alone with landfills located near cities: in April 2021, the most recent GHGSat satellite, Hugo, recorded large amounts of methane (approximately 4,000 kg per hour) from the Matuail landfill in south Dhaka. (Bangladesh), the city of nearly 22 million inhabitants.

Canadian satellites also observed landfills releasing large volumes of methane into areas of North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia. In one of them, near Jakarta (Indonesia), 15,900 kg per hour were measured, which is equivalent to almost 400,000 kg per hour of carbon dioxide.

“Our data can help countries audit their climate impacts and more accurately monitor their progress. Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC, for its acronym in English) under the Paris Agreement“, says Stephane Germain, CEO of GHGSat.

Rights: Creative Commons.

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