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US Still Waking Up To Landfill Gas Utilisation Profits

Landfill Gas Utilisation could help Rockingham earn $1 million per year

11 August 2007: WENTWORTH, N.C. Rockingham County could generate $1 million annually by capturing the methane gas emitting from its unused landfills, according to a study produced for county commissioners.

Energy researchers from Appalachian State University found that the county, a mostly rural area bordering the Virginia line, could earn $300,000 annually from its already-closed landfills and up to $1 million per year when another landfill closes in several years. Very healthy landfill gas utilisation profits.

Rachel Goldstein, program manager for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Landfill Outreach Program, said recent energy crunches have encouraged companies and governments to capture the potential of the landfill gas. Landfill gas utilisation can be very worthwhile.

Several companies and governments in North Carolina already use the gas, including those in Greensboro, Winston Salem, Wake County and Mecklenburg County. Rockingham County, which is far less populated than those areas, is now looking at the technology.

“It just blew me away when I was originally reading that report”,

County Manager Tom Robinson said of the potential revenue source. Read more at the Associated Press Web Site.

The Waster’s view: Everyone has been saying for so long that landfill gas extraction and utilisation is now highly profitable once the gas collection systems have been installed for flaring, as required by the regulatory authorities in most nations. It seems surprising that the word has still not apparently, until now, fully penetrated the US waste management scene.

Next time a landfill gas specialist tells me that he has no more new sites to install systems into, and that the “low hanging fruit in landfill gas is all-gone”, I know what I am going to say! I guess you will too, if you read the report below:

How Waste Management Inc. is Making Money from Landfill Gas Utilisation

The items that do end up at the landfill can in some cases be converted to energy. At roughly 130 disposal sites, the company uses naturally-occurring landfill gas to power homes and businesses in the local region. Just recently, it even developed the technology to convert landfill gas into a fuel its fleet vehicles can run on.

I may use comedy in this article when I compare Waste Management to magicians, although to be frank, the company has proven its expertise in making your curbside trash vanish while you’re at work, and then turn around and create usable forms of energy with it. Can you do that? I didn’t think so.

Here are three ways the company provides energy using landfill gas:

1. Electricity – generating electricity at power plants located either at our land-fill or at a nearby business.

2. Alternative Fuel – piping it to customers for use as a heating fuel to supplement (or replace) oil, coal and natural gas.

3. Processed Gas – cleaning and delivering it to transmission pipelines to perform the same applications as natural gas.

And these aren’t just theories, they’re realities. For example, at the company’s Suburban land-fill in Savannah, GA that opened an energy plant just 9 years ago, has since been producing enough electricity to power 3,500 homes in and around Savannah. Through this plant alone, the company is creating the energy equivalent of roughly 25,000 tons of coal. Numbers say a lot, but what’s most important to know is that communities are being powered by the same waste they generate.

According to the Renewable Brochure linked above, between all of Waste Management’s renewable energy offerings, including landfill gas, it will produce enough electricity to power two million homes by the year 2020. Amazingly the company is already making tremendous progress as it is more than halfway there, producing enough for 1.2 million homes. via  OwnThisStockForever

Landfill Gas Utilisation Doesn’t Have to Mean Electricity Generation in the Following Innovative Proposal:

Dubuque landfill looking to turn gas into cash – KWWL

That’s the aim of a project the Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency is hoping to get off the ground.

As trash breaks down in the landfill, it creates a gas that’s a mix of methane, oxygen, carbon dioxide and other trace elements.

The DMASWA has paid about $2 million for a system that collects and destroys most of that gas.  They pay about $100,000 every year to maintain and run the system.

But now they want to do more than just destroy it. They want to make money off of it.

While there are a number of options, the most feasible, they say, it’s best to turn that gas into gasoline equivalents that can be sold to the transportation industry.

All told, they say the gas generated at the landfill in Dubuque translates to more than 1 million gallons of gasoline equivalent.

The goal, they say, 10-15 years down the road, is to have “something that’s able to clean the gas, and create a marketable product. Now whether it’s still being used as a transportation fuel at that point, or whether we shift it over to electrical generation, or whether we shift it over to a process fuel, gives that flexibility to the agency and to it’s private partner, really on how to maximize the physical value as well as the environmental value of the gas that we generate,” said John Foster, DMASWA’s administrator.

They’re currently looking for a partner to help develop the system to clean and convert the gas, then sell it. via Dubuque landfill looking to turn gas into cash

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