Using the inverse dispersion method to determine methane emissions from biogas plants and wastewater treatment plants with complex source configurations

Marcel Bühler, Christoph Häni, Christof Ammann, Stefan Brönnimann, Thomas Kupper
Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and biogas plants (BGPs) are significant sources of methane (CH 4 ), with a combined share of around 40% within the waste sector of the Swiss national emission inventory. We conducted whole-plant CH 4 emission measurements at two WWTPs and four agricultural BGPs in Switzerland using the inverse dispersion method (IDM). This involved open-path concentration measurements up-and downwind of the plant in combination with a backward Lagrangian stochastic (bLS)
more » ... l. WWTPs in particular consist of multiple CH 4 sources with different areas and emission strengths. For the combination of the individual emission sources in the bLS modelling, three different calculation approaches with different levels of detail were applied: (i) single source over enveloping polygon area, (ii) uniform emission density for all individual source areas, (iii) specified relative weighting of individual sources based on literature data. Average CH 4 emissions for WWTP-1 and WWTP-2 were 0.82 kg h − 1 and 0.61 kg h − 1 and scaled to population equivalents (PE) 166 g PE − 1 y − 1 and 381 g PE − 1 y − 1 , respectively. BGPs CH 4 emissions varied between 0.39 kg h − 1 and 2.22 kg h − 1 , corresponding to less than 5% of the plants' CH 4 production. The highest numbers were due to measurements during other than normal operating conditions. The emissions of WWTPs and BGPs comply with literature values. Approach (iii) with source weighting led to a difference of up to 43% for the two WWTPs compared to the assumption of uniform emissions. Furthermore, we demonstrate how multiple open-path concentration measurements can be combined and how the measurements can be corrected for nearby external CH 4 sources not belonging to the investigated plants. The results of the present study contribute to improved emission data from the waste sector.
doi:10.24451/arbor.16702 fatcat:f4cnll7q3fhirasvce5clidnji