Landfill gas projects generate electricity, compressed natural gas

By Susanne Retka Schill
Projects commissioned in Ohio, Virginia and New York in September joined the growing list of landfills tapping into the gas released by decomposing waste.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in mid-September in Stafford County, Va., for a landfill-gas-to-energy facility with a 2.14 megawatt generating capacity, enough to meet the annual power needs of more than 1,300 homes. The Rappahannock Regional Solid Waste Management Board has signed a 20-year agreement with energy services provider Ameresco Inc., the company that developed the landfill-gas-to-energy project. The electricity is being purchased by Constellation Energy Group Inc.

Casella Waste Systems Inc., a regional solid waste, recycling and resource management services company based in Rutland, Vt., completed its fourth and fifth landfill-gas-to-energy plants ahead of schedule this fall at the Hyland landfill in Angelica, N.Y., and its landfill in Clinton County, N.Y. Each facility has the generating capacity to produce 4.8 megawatts per hour. This brings the company's total production capacity of clean energy to nearly 25 megawatts per hour. It expects to begin producing clean energy at its Southbridge landfill-gas-to-energy facility in Massachusetts during the first half of fiscal year 2010. When this new facility comes on line, the company and its partners will be producing approximately 28 megawatts of clean electricity per hour.

A landfill project in Ohio is converting landfill gas to a green compressed natural gas, which project developer FirmGreen Inc. has trademarked gCNG. In partnership with the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, California-based FirmGreen built the landfill-gas processing facility and fueling station that pumps compressed natural gas. The $18 million Green Energy Center located at a landfill near Grove City, Ohio, collects and cleans raw landfill gas using Acrion Technologies' patented CO2 Wash technology. It will produce enough compressed natural gas annually to replace nearly 250,000 gallons of gasoline, plus enough gas to generate the electricity required for its own operation.