by Jun Way Lee, Application Engineer, Integrated Solutions, Thermo Fisher Scientific

Between the 1950s and 1980s, many landfill sites were capped, rehabilitated and redeveloped for parklands or industrial purposes. A requirement of these landfill closures was to ensure ongoing monitoring of legacy gas levels to make sure they didn’t migrate above ground. Thermo Fisher Scientific has developed a range of technologies to perform this monitoring remotely, reducing labour costs.

Methane is the major component of gas generated by decomposing organic wastes in landfills. Landfill sites can continue to produce gas for decades after closure, and in some cases this can be detected above ground.

Thermo Fisher was contacted by a client in Queensland who required remote access to their monitoring data and a remote alarm capability.

Preliminary tests at some of their sites had indicated that methane levels exceeded predicted values, but the data was only available when manually retrieved by operators after a site visit.

Data was typically measured over a six to 12 week period and used to help assess the condition of the infrastructure.

Combining technologies for a complete solution

Thermo Fisher proposed two technologies: the RAE MeshGuard Gas Detection, which is designed for rapid deployment in conjunction with Meshguard EC remote wireless gas sensors, and the DataTaker DT80M, a robust, stand-alone, low power data logger with a built-in 3G modem.

The RAE MeshGuard Gas Detection is a stand-alone system with no telemetry capability so the DataTaker was added to enable a complete wireless monitoring solution.

The gas detector comes with five methane sensors which can be deployed remotely at multiple locations within 300m of the FMC 2000 controller. Captured gas levels are then transferred wirelessly back to the FMC 2000, which is located inside a safe zone and connected to the DataTaker.

The data logger automatically and periodically retrieves Modbus RS485 data from the controller which can contain all available sensor information. Depending on requirements, the DataTaker logger is also capable of sending data and alarms via email or SMS.

Reducing site visits and associated costs

As a result, two sets of complete plug and play systems were delivered to the client. DataTaker is preprogrammed and prefabricated into a wall mounting enclosure and all electrical wirings and components are compatible with standard power outlets.

While FMC2000 is preconfigured to automatically communicate with specific methane sensors within its self-healing network.

The solution provided by Thermo Fisher allowed the client to supervise gas levels without the need for regular site visits. Now site visits are only conducted when necessary, saving an estimated $25,000 in yearly labour costs.

The client can now confidently rely on the autonomous system to deliver the data they need, enhancing efficiency and ensuring the environmental impact of legacy gases are safely minimised.

This partner content is brought to you by Thermo Fisher Scientific. For more information, visit

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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