Wastech opens British Columbia landfill gas plant

By Anna Simet | June 17, 2015

Wastech has officially commenced operations of a landfill gas-to-energy plant at the Cache Creek Landfill in British Columbia, Canada, a disposal site that serves the Metro Vancouver area.

Construction of the 4.8-MW project began in last summer, in anticipation of new provincial gas collection regulations coming into effect in 2016, according to Wastech, which reported that it has preemptively met its gas capture targets at the Cache Creek facility years ahead of schedule, capturing even more methane than the regulations will mandate. 

A 2009 law, the Landfill Gas Management Regulation, establishes province-wide criteria for landfill gas capture from municipal solid waste landfills. It focuses on greenhouse gas emission reductions from landfills with an objective of emissions and identifying potential opportunities to increase landfill gas recovery, and requires landfills that emit over 1,000 metric tons of methane per year to install landfill gas collection and destruction systems no later than 2016.

The main generating equipment of the Landfill Gas Utilization Plant, funded by Wastech, was purchased from Caterpillar dealer Finning, headquartered in Vancouver. Most of the technology was purchased within the province, according to Wastech, which highlighted its local investments for the project, including construction of transmission lines.

Wastech has entered into an initial 20-year contract to provide all electricity generated from the project to BC Hydro under the Standing Offer Program, which encourages the development of new small—under 15 MW— and clean or renewable energy projects throughout British Columbia.

Commercial operations of the project began in March 2015.

Initial plans were to build a liquefied natural gas conversion plant at the landfill and use the resulting fuel to power Wastech’s waste collection fleet, but the company was unable to complete with the fuel price point of Fortis, the owner of B.C.’s two liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities, said Janet Tecklenborg, general manager of Wastec. However, she said, the company did move forward with converting its fleet from diesel fuel to LNG.

The Cache Creek landfill opened in 1989 and underwent a $100 million expansion project in 2010 that added 42 hectares to the dump and extended its life by up to 25 years. Metro Vancouver sends over 400,000 metric annually to the landfill, or about 30 percent of the total amount of municipal solid waste in the region.