Ohio Patent of the Month – December 2022

Some waste disposal methods at landfills require solid waste to be buried, covered in soil in alternating layers. The organic waste then begins decomposing using oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide (CO2) and water. After months, all oxygen will be consumed in the landfill and the waste proceeds into an anaerobic biodegradation process – which means it degrades without the presence of oxygen, releasing CO2 and methane. Eventually, these gasses permeate up, through the soil, and into the atmosphere. 

Given that CO2 and methane are greenhouse gasses, preventing them from entering the atmosphere is crucial. The first step to this process is understanding how much of each gas is being emitted and then using a landfill gas well extraction system to control the flow of gas surface emissions.

Elkins Earthworks, LLC, (EEW) innovators in the Landfill Gas Industry, have recently patented a design for a portable gas monitor which measures landfill gas emissions. The device extracts a sample of fluid from the well and uses gas sensors to measure  methane and CO2, along with an electrochemical cell to measure oxygen concentrations. Based on these accurate measurements, the operator can then tune the landfill gas flow rate into the well, adjusting as needed to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

 The design can measure multiple properties of a fluid stream including the gas flow rate, temperature, composition, pressure and more. The portable design allows the device to measure multiple wells as the operator simply manually connects and disconnects the device at each well.

Frustrated with being forced to do things only one way, EEW’s founder, Charles Elkins, conceived the idea of a field instrument that conformed more to the technician’s field practice. EEW was born from the necessity to bring adaptive technology to the industry. The Envision portable LFG analyzer, EEW’s first product, was designed from the ground up to work for the landfill gas technician. Bringing innovative technologies together, EEW created a gas analyzer that communicates with a wide range of hand-held field computers, maintains an open data structure without dictating how to take readings. The design of a portable gas monitoring system supports this mission, bringing EEW and their customers another break in adaptive technology.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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