Emissions from landfills, mostly CO2 and CH4, are significant. Could layers of glomalin-enriched soil placed over the heap help contain part of these emissions?

Landfill Emissions

Glomalin: an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal soil protein

  • Doing as you suggest would achieve nothing. If you had a way to bind some of the carbon using your fungus in the form of glomalin rather than the bacteria producing CO2 and methane... then that's a different question. Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 1:54

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The whole point of running a landfill site is to generate hydrocarbons to burn in a generator. The ideal mix is < 5% O2, ~40-60% CH4 and ~60-40% CO2. If you trap these emissions in the soil, the quality/calorific value of the gas is reduced, meaning you need to flare more of it, and/or the turbine is less efficient.

In addition, landfill sites are managed differently across the world. In parts of Europe, the cells are capped individually, allowing a positive pressure to build up as a result of the anaerobic digestion process. In the USA, they use gas extraction, with a layering of waste product, pipework for extraction, and membranes built up over time. They are eventually capped, when the hole is full. The gas is then drawn out from areas with sufficient quantities of hydrocarbons to flare/run a turbine. Using your suggestion wouldn't be applicable for these types of landfill site.

A better path to follow is to reduce the amount of product going into landfills in the first place, particularly harmful products which cause toxic leachate which can spill into the watercourse, and generate high levels of hydrogen sulphide & carbon monoxide.

  • Thanks. However, what I had in mind was carbon sequestration crops - a plant that grew very fast, captured a lot of carbon (bamboo? hemp?) and then could be cut and buried. The question is about how to bury it so the carbon stays underground. Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 14:41

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