Landfill Methane Awards: From Greenhouse Gas to Energy Source


BALTIMORE, Maryland, January 13, 2010 (ENS) – Eight landfill methane capture projects were recognized by the U.S. EPA Tuesday for innovation in generating renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The winning organizations accepted their awards at EPA’s 13th Annual Landfill Methane Outreach Program Conference and Project Expo in Baltimore. LMOP is a voluntary assistance and partnership program that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by supporting landfill gas energy project development.

Methane, a primary component of landfill gas, is a greenhouse gas with more than 20 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Using landfill gas as an energy resource prevents greenhouse gas emissions and reduces landfill odors.

This year’s LMOP winning projects will avoid the emissions of 546,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, the equivalent of annual greenhouse gas emissions from nearly 100,000 passenger vehicles.

The winners include one of the largest landfill gas to liquefied natural gas facilities in the world, the Altamont Landfill Resource and Recovery Facility in Livermore, California.

After nearly 10 years of research and development, on November 2, 2009, Waste Management, Inc. officially opened the high-tech high Btu fuel plant. The LFG-to-LNG facility converts landfill gas into liquefied natural gas that will fuel 300 garbage trucks operated by Waste Management.

Each day, the plant processes three million cubic feet of landfill gas, yielding 13,000 gallons of liquefied natural gas to run the garbage trucks and replacing the need for about 2.5 million gallons of diesel fuel per year.

From production to consumption, LFG-to-LNG emits about one-seventh of the greenhouse emissions of diesel fuel. The LNG-powered garbage trucks emit less smog-forming particulate matter and nitrogen oxides than diesel powered trucks.

The $15.5 million project meets California directives to advance biomass as a transportation fuel and to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. Four state agencies committed up to $2.4 million to this facility, which is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30,000 tons per year.

“We are proud to recognize Landfill Methane Outreach Program partners who are turning trash into a clean and profitable source of energy,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation at the awards ceremony. “These projects, and others like them, are helping us transition into a clean energy economy and make important greenhouse gas reductions.”

Awards were given in three categories: Projects of the Year, State Partner of the Year, and Community Partner of the Year.

The other five Projects of the Year are:

  • University of New Hampshire EcoLineTM Project in Rochester, New Hampshire won for its EcoLine, a trademarked integrated system that cleans and burns landfill gas in a cogeneration plant. The plant provides up to 85 percent of the electricity and heating needs for the five million square-foot campus.
  • Jefferson City Renewable Energy Project in Jefferson City, Missouri won because project developer Ameresco changed the originally planned location of the 3.2-megawatt landfill gas electricity project to enable the capture of waste heat. The cogeneration project earned White House recognition for creating an estimated 80 jobs and expanding renewable energy for the nation.
  • Ox Mountain 11.4 Megawatt Landfill Gas Energy, Half Moon Bay, California, at 11.4 megawatts, is one of the largest landfill gas electricity projects in the country. It helps two municipal utilities meet renewable energy goals and powers as many as 10,000 homes in the cities of Palo Alto and Alameda.
  • Sioux Falls Landfill and POET Ethanol Direct Use Project, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Here, the city captures, cleans, and pipes landfill gas for energy utilization at an ethanol plant, where landfill gas initially displaces about 10 percent of the plant’s natural gas consumption in a wood waste-fuel boiler.
  • Oak Grove Landfill Renewable Methane Project in Winder, Georgia produces enough gas to heat over 8,000 homes. A public-private partnership overcame barriers and applied innovative technologies that could lead to application at other high Btu projects.

The State Partner of the Year award went to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Through outreach and networking, the Kansas DHE and the Bureau of Waste Management fueled interest in landfill gas utilization for energy.

The Community Partner of the Year award was handed to South Kent Generating Station in Byron Center, Michigan. Kent County demonstrated its desire to serve the community and implement a long-term landfill gas energy strategy.

The EPA’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program has facilitated more than 450 landfill energy projects over the past 15 years. The program also assists countries throughout the world in developing landfill methane reduction projects through the international Methane to Markets Partnership.

The United States currently has about 509 operational landfill gas to energy projects. These electricity generation projects have a capacity of 1,563 megawatts and provide the energy equivalent of powering more than 920,000 homes annually.

The direct-use projects provide an additional 304 million standard cubic feet of landfill gas per day and provide the energy equivalent of heating more than 715,000 homes annually. Direct-use landfill gas energy projects do not produce electricity, but instead use landfill gas as an alternative to replace another fuel such as natural gas or coal.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2010. All rights reserved.

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