Flares 101: A Primer on the Technology to Burn Landfill Gas

Landfill flares are the primary means of burning off methane, preventing its release into the atmosphere. Different types of landfill flares are used depending on factors such as the volume and composition of the biogas, regulatory requirements, and site conditions. 

Generally speaking, landfill flares fall into two categories: Enclosed and Open. 

Enclosed Landfill Flares

An enclosed flare consists of a combustion chamber housed within a tall stack. 

Enclosed flares are designed to ensure complete combustion of the biogas, minimizing emissions of methane and other harmful compounds.  

They are often equipped with advanced monitoring and control systems to optimize combustion efficiency and maintain compliance with environmental regulations. And they hide the combustion process from view, making them more appropriate for urban settings. 

Open Landfill Flares

Open landfill flares, on the other hand, are simpler in design and consist of a burner mounted on top of a vertical stack.

Open flares are typically used for smaller landfill sites or temporary installations where space and budget constraints may limit the use of enclosed flares.  

While open flares may be less efficient at combustion, they still provide an effective means of reducing methane emissions from landfills.

Gas-gathering Pipes

In addition to landfill flares, gas-gathering pipes play a crucial role in capturing methane from landfill sites.  

These pipes are installed throughout the landfill, typically in a grid pattern, to collect methane emitted from decomposing organic waste. The collected biogas is then transported via the gas-gathering pipes to the biogas flare system for combustion. 

Gas-gathering pipes come in various materials and configurations depending on factors such as: 

  • the depth and layout of the landfill 
  • the volume of biogas produced 
  • site-specific considerations  

Common materials used for gas-gathering pipes include high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and steel, which offer durability and resistance to corrosion.

Additional Landfill Flare System Technologies

To optimize the collection efficiency of gas-gathering pipes, landfill operators may employ additional technologies such as vacuum pumps or blowers. These devices create suction or positive pressure within the pipe network, enhancing the flow of biogas and increasing the capture rate. 

Furthermore, landfill operators may implement auxiliary technologies to improve the performance and reliability of the biogas management system.  

This may include gas monitoring and control systems to continuously monitor biogas composition and flow rates, as well as automatic ignition systems to ensure reliable operation of the flare.

Overall, the successful management of biogas generated by landfills rely on a combination of landfill flares, gas-gathering pipes, and auxiliary technologies tailored to the specific characteristics of each site.  

By effectively capturing and burning off biogas, these technologies help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainable waste management practices.

Parnel Biogas Inc. specializes in the design and manufacture of landfill gas flare and landfill gas-to-energy systems. Its flare systems are recognized as the “Best Demonstrated Technology for Destruction of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)” meeting the EPA 40 CFR 60.18. Parnel Biogas is committed to providing a prompt response and exceeding client expectations. Contact Parnel Biogas Inc. here.