Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Chemistry

First Advisor

Dr. Michael Barcelona

Second Advisor

Dr. Steven Bertman

Third Advisor

Dr. Gellert Mezei

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

Landfills are the largest source of anthropogenic methane (CH4) accounting for up to 40tg per year worldwide. The King's Highway Landfill in Kalamazoo, Ml was the site of an experiment to reduce methane emissions by stimulating methanotrophic microorganisms in the soil. The effect of nutrient (i.e. KNO3 and NH4CI) injections in the top meter of landfill cover soils were measured on samples from soil profile probes using flame ionization and thermal conductivity gas chromatography. The experimental plots included sheltered and unsheltered: control, nutrient, and nutrient plus nitrification inhibitor, (phenylacetylene), treated sub-plots. Phenylacetylene was included since it is known to inhibit nitrous oxide (N2O) production and N2O is a more potent greenhouse gas than methane or carbon dioxide. According to the Fick's first law of diffusion and the Millington-Quirk model, methane flux estimates were as high as 218.36 g*m-2*day-1 in the fall and 12.79 g*m-2*day-1 in the summer. It was shown that during the spring and summer methane flux was reduced by more than half by adding a KNO3 and NH4CI supplement into the soil. In addition, the addition of phenylacetylene to the amendment decreased N2O production by half in the stimulated plots. The system was modeled by extrapolating the seasonal average methane flux data to estimate the reduction of methane flux into the atmosphere by chemical stimulation in the surrounding cover soils. The result suggests that nutrient addition coupled with soil moisture management may provide a potential strategy to reduce methane emissions significantly.

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