LFG: Commercial Energy Recovery Case Studies
Industry sources indicate that successful LFG
energy recovery projects typically have the following characteristics :
- Experienced, professional management
- Adequate financing which allows as much labor,
inventory, and supplies as needed
- An abundant LFG supply
- A favorable local marketplace
- Situation in landfills that remain active for
5 to 10 years or more
- Contracts for gas rights, power or gas sales,
and facility use that are solid and of adequate duration
- Experienced, continuously available personnel
for servicing LFG extraction system and energy conversion system.
The following are cases of LFG-to-energy conversion
projects where landfill operators/owners and Government have worked together
- Riverview, Michigan facility, operated by
Detroit Edison. Detroit Edison Company has been involved in the development
of landfill gas-to-energy projects since 1986. The Riverview facility has
an output of 6.6 megawatts. Since it began commercial operation in 1988,
it has generated more than 225,000 megawatthours of electricity. The project
has operated safely and reliably. Riverview municipal officials have recognized
the facility’s valuable service and its numerous environmental benefits,
including capture of some 4 billion cubic feet of methane that would have
been released into the environment. The Riverview facility expects to collect
LFG and produce electricity through the year 2027. Detroit Edison has gone
on to pursue similar ventures in California, Florida, Texas, Ohio, and
- Short Mountain Landfill project, Eugene, Oregon,
operated by Emerald People’s Utility District (EPUD). EPUD worked with
Lane County, the State of Oregon, and a private investment company to develop
a 3.4-megawatt plant at the Short Mountain Landfill. The plant operates
at over 97 percent capacity and provides a profit to EPUD as well as royalty
income to the County. Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), in turn, credits
EPUD’s bill for the power generated by the landfill project.
- I-95 Sanitary Landfill, Fairfax County, Virginia.
Under a unique arrangement, a developer owns and operates the energy recovery
facility, but Fairfax County retains control of the gas extraction wells.
The agreement was structured this way because of the County’s concerns
about migration and odor control. The County operates the well field for
the developer, for a fee, and the developer has rights to a set amount
of gas. The I-95 energy recovery facility collects 3.3 million cubic feet
per day of LFG and uses 8 internal combustion engines to generate 6 megawatts
of electricity for sale to Virginia Power. By adopting a team approach
with the developer, the County gained a state-of-the-art energy recovery
plant at no cost and maintained control over their landfill gas system.
- Mountaingate Facility, Los Angeles, California.
The Mountaingate Landfill was shut down in 1980. Four of the eight
canyons filled during that time now support a championship golf course.
The Mountaingate control and recovery plant collects 5 million cubic feet
of LFG per day. Air Products and Chemical, Inc., operators of the Mountaingate
Landfill collection facility, processes the gas on site to remove siloxanes
and other impurities using a proprietary process. The purified gas is then
piped to the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), about 4.5
miles away. UCLA in turn compresses the gas to approximately 500 pounds
and blends it with natural gas. The blend is used to fuel two 14.5-megawatt
combustion turbine generators that provide power for the UCLA campus. No
detrimental effects on UCLA’s emissions control equipment has been noted
in the nearly 2 two years of use.
- AT&T Plant, Columbus, Ohio. This plant
converted its boilers from natural gas to LFG in 1993. The LFG is transported
from a nearby landfill. AT&T estimates that it saved $120,000 by mid-1995
over the cost of natural gas .
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File last modified: April 16, 1997
- Mark Gielecki
- Phone: (202) 426-1141
- Fax: (202) 426-1280