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A Land Full Of Methane. How Can We Save Our Future?

Methane Gas Is Slowly Choking Out Our Planet.


By Richard Xu

Courtesy of Ryan Brooklyn on Unsplash


Meet Methane, a potent greenhouse gas (GHG) that stays in our atmosphere and traps the sun’s heat for years, accelerating global warming with a methane Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 27-30 times as compared to CO2 over 100 years.


If you’re looking for the largest source of methane (CH4) emissions in the U.S., look no further than your local landfill.


According to the EIP Landfill Methane Report, an estimated 14.3% of total methane emissions are due to solid waste decomposition or 3.7 million metric tons in 2021. Because methane is more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2), the main ubiquitous GHG, these 3.7 million metric tons are the equivalent of around 295 million metric tons of CO2. To put that into scale, that is the equivalent of 66 million gas cars driving for a year straight or 79 running coal-fired power plants.


You may be wondering: How do we even stop pollution at this scale? As of right now, we can aim to reduce methane emissions via public policy, education, and changes in ingrained consumer habits.


For example, food waste is a main contributor to methane emissions, given that Americans dispose of 40% of their food where they proceed to decompose in landfills and generate biomethane. With proper food management education and allocation, we can cut down on the amount of food that finds its way to the landfill. With existing landfills, in or out of commission, we can continue to monitor their methane levels and adjust accordingly.


Here at Nikira Labs, we have developed a portable methane analyzer (PMA) to help monitor these emissions in and around landfills. With our ultra-light and compact PMA, we can measure methane levels anywhere in the field to help inform communities and policy-makers to set emission reduction plans. The PMA can then be used to verify the implemented solutions’ efficacy.


Nikira Labs’ PMA used to measure CH4 emissions at Shoreline Park (a previous landfill) in Mountain View, CA


As long as there is a public will and determination to combat climate change, then the fight against global warming will make real progress. Nikira Labs is committed to do its share in steadfastly supporting this effort by offering top-class measurement technology to make the methane emission reduction goal attainable in the short-term.


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