Evaluation of Biogas Production and Environmental Benefits from the Landfill in Itajubá-MG, Brazil

By Regina Mambeli Barros, Geraldo Lúcio Tiago Filho, Érica Patrícia Prudente and Fernando das Graças Braga da Silva.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

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The increase in the generation of municipal solid waste (MSW) as well as modifying in their characteristics leads to technical and operational difficulties for the proper treatment and disposal of them. A suitable alternative to final disposal and treatment of MSW is the design and operation of landfills which are a kind of treatment and final disposal of MSW in order to confine the MSW in a minimum amount possible and provide security to public health and the environment. As byproducts of the degradation of the organic fraction of MSW in predominantly anaerobic environment, it addresses to the leachate and biogas, the latter as scope of this study. The main components of biogas are methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2). However, methane has a calorific value of energy use capability after its collection and purification. There are different methods to estimate the theoretical amount of gas to be generated in a landfill environment. The present study was performed by using of the software E-PLUS® v. 1.0, from United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to obtain the values for the estimated production of biogas and methane fraction from landfill for Inter-Municipal Consortium of Municipalities of High Sapucaí for Landfill (CIMASAS, in Portuguese), Minas Gerais, Brazil. The values of the cumulative amount of MSW for the period of landfill useful-life (2009-2031) would be 173,405 tons, for a final plan population of 138,023 inhabitants from CIMASAS. Regarding to the methane gas, the peak value of flow would be the generation of 0.48139 (m3/year) in 2032 and 2033, with a matching 4,22.107 kWh of energy (or 42.2 GWh) between 2009 and 2149 on average. Due to the high value for Simple Payback parameter estimated for this case study (100 yrs), it is explicit the needed for government incentive policies for this renewable source of energy, mainly due to the fact that almost a half of the Brazilian population (86,319,122 inhabitants; 45.25%) lives in municipalities of less than 100,000 inhabitants.

Keywords: Landfill, Biogas, Municipal Solid Waste

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.39-49. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 449.068KB).

Dr. Regina Mambeli Barros

Professor, Natural Resources Institute, Federal University of Itajubá, Itajubá, Minas Gerais, Brazil

She earned a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering—Hydraulic and Sanitation from the School of Engineering of São Carlos, University of São Paulo in 2005, and a Master’s Degree of Civil Engineering—Hydraulic and Sanitation by the School of Engineering of São Carlos, University of São Paulo in 2000. She graduated in Civil Engineering from the University of Taubaté in 1997. She has experience in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Hydraulics and Sanitation, acting on the following topics: Small Hydro Power, solid and liquid wastes, surface and ground water resources, environmental awareness and pollution.

Dr. Geraldo Lúcio Tiago Filho

Professor, Natural Resources Institute, Federal University of Itajubá, Itajubá, Minas Gerais, Brazil

He is a Mechanical Engineer. He earned his Ph.D. in Hydraulic Systems from USP and a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering in Flow Machines from UNIFEI. He is the Director and Ph.D. Professor of Federal University of Itajubá (UNIFEI), as well as the Executive officer and Researcher of CERPCH (National Reference Center of Small Hydropower).

Eng. Érica Patrícia Prudente

Master Student, Natural Resources Institute, Federal University of Itajubá, Itajubá, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Eng. Érica Patrícia Prudente has a degree in Environmental Engineering and is a Researcher at the National Reference Center of Small Hydropower, Federal University of Itajubá (CERPCH/UNIFEI).

Dr. Fernando das Graças Braga da Silva

Professor, Natural Resources Institute, Federal University of Itajubá, Itajubá, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Dr. Fernando das Graças Braga da Silva is a Civil Engineer. He has his Ph.D. and Master’s from the School of Engineering of São Carlos, University of São Paulo. He is a Ph.D. Professor at the Federal University of Itajubá (UNIFEI), and is also a Researcher at the National Reference Center in Small Hydropower (CERPCH).