Saskatoon landfill gas facility operational

By Anna Simet | May 30, 2014

A landfill-gas-to-energy plant at the Saskatoon city landfill is now sending electricity to the grid, enough to power roughly 1,300 homes.

Work on the project has been ongoing for the past couple of years. Landfill capping, which involves the clay covering of a section of the landfill to prevent methane from being released into the atmosphere, occurred in 2012. After capping, 29 vertical wells were drilled, the deepest of which is 101 feet. A four-pipeline network—13,800 feet of underground piping—was installed in 2013, which collects and transports the gas to the power generation facility.

After the gas collection facility was in place in November, the plant began capturing and flaring gas, according to Kevin Hudson, Saskatoon Power metering and sustainable electricity manager. “We started generating power in late March of this year,” he said.

The plant’s electric capacity is 1.63 MW, according to Hudson, which is produced via two 815-kilowatt Caterpillar engine generators. The generators each consume approximately 6.8 standard cubic meters (240 standard cubic feet) of gas per minute.

The Canadian government and Saskatoon provided joint funding of $15 million to cover the total costs of the project, built and owned by the city. The sale of electricity to SaskPower through a 20-year power purchase agreement will generate approximately $1.3 million in annual revenue for Saskatoon, which estimates a nine-year payback. After that, the city plans to use revenue to implement additional green power generation projects.

An additional project is underway at the landfill, adjacent to the LFG plant, Hudson confirmed. Dubbed the “Turboexpander project,” it will utilize waste heat from the engines, essentially categorizing the project as a combined-heat-and-power plant.

The city reported the landfill gas plant is the first power generation facility to be built and owned by Saskatoon in over 100 years.