Solutions to reduce Fiji’s carbon footprint – USP Academic
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USP lecturer Dr Francis Mani during his presentation at the PACE-NET Plus bi-regional dialogue platform at the Tanoa International Hotel, Nadi.
According to a study carried out by an academic of The University of the South Pacific (USP), recovery of methane gas produced at the Naboro Landfill has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint in Fiji, which is a key contributor to global warming challenges.
Lecturer at USP’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Dr Francis Mani, who delivered his presentation on pre-feasibility study for methane recovery at Naboro Landfill, during the PACE-NET Plus bi-regional dialogue platform on 30 June 2016, said that the Naboro Landfill shows the potential for methane recovery and utilisation.
“Methane gas is a resource which is going to waste at the moment. It is being released into the atmosphere and contributing to global warming,” Dr Mani highlighted.
The Naboro Landfill, which is the only landfill in Fiji, does not have any recovery technologies at the moment. The methane produced at the landfill, is released into the atmosphere, increasing the national greenhouse gas inventory.
To research on methane recovery and provide solutions to achieving the national greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, Dr Mani applied for a PACE-NET Plus Seed Grant under Societal Challenge for Climate Action to undertake the research using state-of-art instruments.
USP is the principal investigator in this project and has taken the lead role in undertaking such a study in collaboration with its European Union (EU) partner in Netherlands, Mr Richard Gronert from NV Afvalzorg and Dr Michael Harvey from National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand.
As part of the fieldwork which was carried out from 11 to 20 January this year, the research team from USP measured the amount of landfill methane flux and assessed landfill methane oxidation rates.
“Once we did all the measurements, we then used a model to predict the amount of landfill gas that is generated and what percentage of that can be recovered,” Dr Mani explained.
After assessing the different recovery scenarios including weather patterns and type of rubbish deposited at the Naboro Landfill, it was suggested that installing the vertical wells were only able to capture 24 per cent of the landfill methane generated. The rest, he added, escaped into the atmosphere.
He further stated that the best option was to install the horizontal wells.
“This means that when you are filling the landfill with rubbish, you dig a horizontal trench and lay the pipes, so as the methane is generated you can actually pull it out from the landfill,” he said.
Dr Mani added that if done this way, the efficiency increases from 24 to 45 per cent or more.
He said that through the installation of a gas turbine, the recovered methane gas could be used to generate electricity at the Naboro Landfill.
“We are the technical people who can assist the Fijian Government to take this project further and we can become advisors to the Government in terms of implementing a recovery technology at the Landfill,” he said.
Dr Mani said that this method will reduce the carbon footprint by 27,000 tons of carbon dioxide or equivalent per year.
Other major outcomes of this PACE-NET Plus project is the establishment of collaborations between USP and EU landfill experts and this is an ongoing initiative.
“Recently NV Afvalzorg, our European counterpart in the project, donated an instrument to measure methane emissions from landfill, boosting the local capacity to do such measurements in future,” Dr Mani said.
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