25.2 CDM: A Mechanism to Promote Solid Waste Management Efficiency and GHG Reduction in Thailand

Chanathip Pharino , Environmental Engineering, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
Benjapa Jaranasaksakul , Environmental Engineering, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
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  • CDM: A Mechanism to Promote Solid Waste Management Efficiency and GHG Reduction in Thailand

    Chanathip Pharino and Benjapa Jaranasaksakul

    Department of Environmental Engineering, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, 10330


    The main objective of this study is to evaluate total amounts of GHG emissions from landfills and potential carbon credits from electricity generation projects of Bangkok Metropolitan Areas (BMA). Total amounts of GHG released to the atmosphere from two landfills which receive wastes from BMA are estimated under different management scenarios. The results show that methane released from Phanomsarakam and  Kampangsan Landfill during 2005-2024 are approximately 2.27 and 5.11 million tons carbon dioxide equivalent if nothing is implemented to collect and utilize landfill gases. If methane gases are collected and then flared, it can reduce amounts of GHG emissions by 65 percent. If methane gases are used for electricity generation, it can decrease amounts of carbon dioxide emission by 69 percent. Moreover, electricity generation using landfill gas will displace electricity generation by grids which mainly use coals and natural gases. This project could help reducing GHG approximately 2.4 million tons of carbon dioxide which therefore can be claimed for certified emission reductions under a CDM project.  Additional incomes from the CDM project create a great incentive for investment and promote a better solid waste management and global warming mitigation for the future.


    As being part of globalization, Thailand has increased in rates of consumption and production which eventually result in significant amounts of wastes that the country needs to deal with. Moreover, increasing future population can intensify this solid waste crisis. Solid waste management in Thailand is mainly done by landfills because it is the least-cost approach comparing with incineration. Municipal solid wastes under anaerobic condition in landfill will generate methane which is a potent GHG (23 times CO2e). Without methane collection and utilization, landfills become important sources of GHG.

    Total numbers of landfills in Thailand which actively operate are ninety (90) while total incinerators are three (3). Despite large numbers of landfills, only a few of them properly operate and maintain (with methane gas collection) because no regulation mandates for methane collection. Consequently, there is very little incentive to collect methane from landfill to generate electricity and increase waste collection efficiency.  A large amount of investment needed is one of major barriers. Currently, governmental capability in providing financial supports to start up this kind of project is very little and insufficient.

    Trading of Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) from CDM projects can help Annex I countries to offset their GHG obligation in a cost-effective manner while providing financial supports to help developing countries to be part of global GHG reductions and adopt clean technology. Therefore, CDM is an excellent market-based mechanism which could help increasing efficiency of environmental management and GHG reduction. Currently in Thailand, thirteen (13) CDM projects have already registered by UNFCCC Executive Board. However, Thailand only has 1 approved CDM project from landfill gas to energy category. Despite, total waste handling and disposal type projects around the world are 321 projects (UNFCCC CDM projects statistics, February 2009). The causes hindering CDM projects implementation in Thailand have not been fully understood despite high potentials and benefits from this CDM type of project if implemented widely.

    This challenge becomes a main focus of our research by using Bangkok as a case study.  Bangkok as a capital of Thailand has a waste generation rate approximately 8,400 ton/day (BMA, 2008). However, only about 40% of these wastes are collected and then transferred to 2 active landfills, Panomsarakam and Kampangsan Landfill. Due to lack of sufficient financial and administrative capacity, BMA will soon face serious problems if solid wastes still remain inefficiently managed. Finding solutions to promote CDM projects will create a great incentive for investment to improve this situation.


    The main purposes of our investigation are:

    1.      To estimate total amount of GHG generation from solid wastes and evaluate potential carbon credits from BMA landfills to energy generation

    2.      To identify factors supporting and hindering the CDM implementation of landfill gas to energy type project and recommend solutions to promote efficient wastes management and GHG reduction in Thailand


    1.      Data collection includes populations, quantity and characteristics of wastes generation, management system of Bangkok Metropolitan Administration

    2.      Calculation and forecast amount of future population, amount of wastes, amount of methane and emission reductions by following UNFCCC methodology (ACM001) : Tool to determine methane emission avoided from dumping solid waste disposal site (UNFCCC, 2008)

    3.      The implementation time for the project will be considered into 2 phases: short-term from 2005-2014 (10 years) and long-term from 2005-2024 (20 years). The CDM project will be considered for 10 years period with no renewal. The analyses are divided into 4 cases as summarized in the table:



    Scenario A

    Scenario B

    Scenario C


    No management


    Electricity Generation

    CDM Implementation


    No management


    Electricity Generation

    Results and Summary

    1.      Based on the current rate of waste generation and population growth, the amount of methane generation each year from 2005-2024 within the 2 landfills can be showed in the graph:

    2.      The analysis of GHG emissions from 2 currently active landfills in Bangkok can be summarized in the figure:

    3.      Alternatively for scenario C, if the CDM project be implemented (for 10 year crediting period), the potential emission reductions will be approximately 2.40 Mtons CO2e. These amounts of carbon credits can generate significant incomes and become an important financial incentive for the investors to decide to implement this type of project.

    4.      Several factors affect the implementation of CDM projects in Thailand including complexity of CDM application process and domestic license for electricity generation, cost of CDM implementation, high costs related consulting fee, long implementation time and turn-over rate for project approval, and uncertainty of investment return.

    5.      Uncertainty related to amount of electricity estimation depends on the efficiency of waste separation before putting into landfills, the design and efficiency of landfill gas collection system, the efficiency of electricity generator.