Landfill Methane Capture Strategy

CalRecycle works as a member of the Climate Action Team (CAT) to coordinate state government efforts that address global warming reduction programs.

The Landfill Methane Capture Strategy includes three core components:

  • Install new methane control systems at landfills currently without control systems.
  • Maximize landfill methane capture efficiencies by optimizing landfill design, operation, and closure/post closure practices.
  • Increase recovery of landfill gas for use as a biomass renewable energy source to replace energy from nonrenewable fossil fuel sources.

Install New Methane Control Systems at Landfills Currently Without Control Systems

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulations target emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills. The regulation was a discrete early action greenhouse gas emission reduction measure, as described in the California Global Warming Solutions Act (“AB 32”). The regulation requires owners and operators of certain uncontrolled MSW landfills to install gas collection and control systems, and requires existing and newly installed gas and control systems to operate in an optimal manner. The regulation allows local air districts to voluntarily enter into a memorandum of understanding with CARB to implement and enforce the regulation and to assess fees to cover costs.

Maximize Landfill Methane Capture Efficiencies

Technologies and Management Practices for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Landfills. This guidance document helps landfill operators and regulators evaluate potential actions to achieve additional greenhouse gas emission reductions from landfills. The study is based on an evaluation of existing state-of-the-practice technologies, as reflected in published literature, reports to regulatory agencies, and the project team’s familiarity and experience with specific landfills, landfill gas practices and new projects.

Biocover at Landfills Methane Emissions Reduction Demonstration Project. This project assessed and demonstrated the long-term performance, effectiveness, and maintenance requirements of using a biologically active cover, or biocover, consisting of suitable, readily available organic material, to help mitigate methane emissions over the surface of a landfill.

Improved Inventory Methods for Landfill Methane Emissions from California Landfills. This project was initiated by the California Energy Commission in cooperation with CalRecycle to develop improved methods for estimating landfill methane emissions in the context of the California greenhouse gas inventory.

Increase Recovery of Landfill Gas as a Biomass Renewable Energy Source

CalRecycle is providing technical assistance and incentives, and further developing options, in consultation with the California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission, and the California Public Utilities Commission, to increase recovery of landfill gas. CalRecycle awarded two grants totaling $1 million to demonstrate commercial scale production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) vehicle fuel from landfill gas. CalRecycle is also providing matching funding to demonstrate an innovative anaerobic composting design and process sited at a landfill to increase recovery of biogas for energy and recover a residual compost product from yard wastes otherwise used as landfill alternative daily cover.

LNG From Landfill Gas Demonstration Grants

Gas Technology Institute, in partnership with Waste Management and Linde BOC, proposed to construct and operate a liquefied natural gas (LNG) production facility at the Altamont Landfill in Livermore, CA. The technical goals of the project were to remove contaminants from the landfill gas to purify the methane fraction; liquefy the methane fraction by cooling to cryogenic temperatures; storage of LNG on-site; and supplying LNG to the collection fleet. Currently, the LFG-LNG facility produces up to 13,000 gallons of LNG per day—enough to fuel 300 collection vehicles. The California Integrated Waste Management Board (now CalRecycle) provided $740,000 toward the approximately $15 million project.

Landfill-Based Anaerobic Digestion Compost Pilot Project
This project sought to assess the capabilities of a new landfill-based, in-situ, anaerobic digester technology designed to generate electricity, achieve emissions less than those of current aerobic composting technology, and be cost-effective with California’s tip fee structure.

More Information

More information is available regarding CalRecycle’s activities in managing landfills and other solid waste facilities.

For more information contact: Climate Change,