Geotechnical and Geological Engineering

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 2593–2609 | Cite as

Elements of Design of Passive Methane Oxidation Biosystems: Fundamental and Practical Considerations About Compaction and Hydraulic Characteristics on Biogas Migration

  • Bahar Ahoughalandari
  • Alexandre R. CabralEmail author
  • Serge Leroueil
Original paper


Passive methane oxidation biosystems (PMOBs) are often proposed as a means to reduce fugitive landfill CH4 emissions, i.e. emissions not captured by gas collection systems. However, current designs may lead to the formation of a capillary barrier along the interface between the two main layers constituting passive biosystems, namely the methane oxidation layer and gas distribution layer. The formation of a capillary barrier may result in restricted upward flow of biogas at the base of methane oxidation layer, thereby leading to concentrated biogas emissions in regions known as hotpots, where passive oxidation of biotic methane is failing, if not absent. In this study, design criteria are introduced to assess the ease of biogas flow across the gas distribution-methane oxidation layers’ interface. Laboratory experiments were conducted to obtain the water retention curve, air permeability function and line of optima (on Standard Proctor curve) of the materials used to construct the methane oxidation layer of two experimental PMOBs at the St-Nicephore (Quebec, Canada) landfill. In addition, the main characteristics for other materials were obtained from the literature. Design criteria were then defined based on the degree of water saturation at the lines of optima and the pattern of air permeability functions and water retention curves. Considering these criteria in the design of PMOBs is fundamental to reduce the risk of creating hotspots when implementing PMOBs.


Passive methane oxidation biosystems Gas flow behaviour Capillary barrier effect Water retention curve Standard Proctor curve 



This study received financial support from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Waste Management (WM Quebec Inc.), under the collaborative research and development Grant # CRD 379885-08 and from Discovery Grant #170226. The invaluable help of Jean-Guy Lemelin, technician, must also be acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geoenvironmental Group, Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Water EngineeringUniversité LavalQuebecCanada

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