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Kansas Geological Survey, Open-file Report 2010-17

Investigation of Integrated Subsurface Processing of Landfill Gas and Carbon Sequestration, Johnson County, Kansas

K. David Newell and Timothy R. Carr

KGS Open File Report 2010-17
Dec. 2010 (Report dated August 2007)


The Johnson County Landfill in Shawnee, KS, is operated by Deffenbaugh Industries and serves much of metropolitan Kansas City. Refuse, which is dumped in large plastic-underlined trash cells covering several acres, is covered over with shale shortly after burial. The landfill waste, once it fills the cell, is then drilled by Kansas City LFG, so that the gas generated by anaerobic decomposition of the refuse can be harvested.

Production of raw landfill gas from the Johnson County landfill comes from 150 wells. Daily production is approximately 2.2 to 2.5 mmcf, of which approximately 50% is methane and 50% is carbon dioxide and NMVOCs (non-methane volatile organic compounds). Heating value is approximately 550 BTU/scf. An upgrading plant, utilizing an amine process, rejects the carbon dioxide and NMVOCs, and upgrades the gas to pipeline quality (i.e., nominally a heating value >950 BTU/scf). The gas is sold to a pipeline adjacent to the landfill.

With coal-bearing strata underlying the landfill, and carbon dioxide a major effluent gas derived from the upgrading process, the Johnson County Landfill is potentially an ideal setting to study the feasibility of injecting the effluent gas in the coals for both enhanced coalbed methane recovery and carbon sequestration. To these ends, coals below the landfill were cored and then were analyzed for their thickness and sorbed gas content, which ranged up to 79 scf/ton. Assuming 1 1/2 square miles of land (960 acres) at the Johnson County Landfill can be utilized for coalbed and shale gas recovery, the total amount of in-place gas calculates to 946,200 mcf, or 946.2 mmcf, or 0.95 bcf (i.e., 985.6 mcf/acre X 960 acres). Assuming that carbon dioxide can be imbibed by the coals and shales on a 2:1 ratio compared to the gas that was originally present, then 1682 to 1720 days (4.6 to 4.7 years) of landfill carbon dioxide production can be sequestered by the coals and shales immediately under the landfill.

Three coal--the Bevier, Fleming, and Mulberry coals--are the major coals of sufficient thickness (nominally >1') that can imbibe carbon dioxide gas with an enhanced coalbed injection. Comparison of the adsorption gas content of coals to the gas desorbed from the coals shows that the degree of saturation decreases with depth for the coals.

The complete report is available as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file.

KGS_OFR_2010-17.pdf (6.4 MB)

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Kansas Geological Survey, Energy Research
Updated Dec. 8, 2010
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