La Pradera Landfill Gas
Based at two sites in Medellin, this project enables efficient landfill gas management to prevent methane from being released into the atmosphere. Alongside the greenhouse gas reductions, the project promotes research and provides training facilities for students of the University of Antioquia.
This project enables efficient landfill gas (LFG) management at two landfill sites which service the metropolitan area of Medellin in Colombia. The first site is located in Curva de Rodas and was closed in 2003 after 19 years of operation in which approximately 8.5 million tonnes of municipal waste were received at the site. The second landfill site is La Pradera which became operational in 2003 and currently receives 2,100 tonnes of waste a day.
When organic material in landfill decomposes it releases substantial quantities of LFG which contains methane – a greenhouse gas which is 21 times more potent than CO2. Before this project, the only active treatment of the LFG at these sites was a very basic collection system and irregular manual flaring. These were highly inefficient and consequently the majority of methane was released into the atmosphere. Through this project, a state of the art landfill gas recovery system and an enclosed flare combustion station have been installed at both sites, which will extract and destroy 99.99% of the LFG. When methane is combusted, it converts to CO2 and water, reducing the global warming potential of the LFG.
The La Pradera project was initiated by the University of Antioquia which is also based in the city of Medellin. A portion of the proceeds from the project will be used to promote research and provide assistance to students from some of the lowest income groups at the university. Students will also benefit from using the project sites as training facilities as they provide examples of good solid waste management practices.
Further project proceeds will be allocated to Empresas Varias de Medellin (EEVVM) – the public utility company that owns and operates both landfill sites – which will be used to improve environmental management in Columbia. Both the University and EEVVM will provide funding for training opportunities in the communities affected by the landfills.