Tag Archives: landfill gas

Landfill Gas-to-Energy Turning waste into energy.

ENGINEERING MARVELS
Advanced Disposal’s landfills are impressive engineering structures that offer proven protection to the natural environment while providing a vital service to governments, businesses and residents. They are managed and operated meticulously, providing a safe and cost-effective disposal option for community waste.

Advanced Disposal engineers and designs its facilities with the latest technology in the waste industry. We incorporate state-of-the-art systems that include: Bottom Liner Systems, Leachate Collection Systems and Gas Collection Systems for our municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills.

ENERGY CONSERVERS

Landfill gas collection systems are how modern landfills deal with gases created within the waste. The landfill gas that is collected contains approximately 50% methane and is either destroyed by combusting it in a flare or is diverted to an on-site treatment facility for the conversion of this gas to energy. The conversion of landfill gas to energy is an effective means of recycling and reusing this valuable resource.

Here’s how the process to convert this valuable resource to energy works: as landfill cells are filled with waste, methane gas, a byproduct of any decomposing material, is collected from within the waste through a system of vertical wells and pipelines and directed to a separate on-site treatment facility. The treated landfill gas is either pumped off site to a manufacturer near the landfill to supplement or replace their natural gas usage or is used to generate electricity right at the landfill that is delivered to the electrical grid.

Another benefit of the destruction or utilization of this landfill gas is that it prevents the raw methane in the gas from escaping into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. At some Advanced Disposal landfills, the installation of these collection systems to destroy the methane in the landfill gas is done on a voluntary basis, and thus, we receive credit for reducing the impact of this greenhouse gas on the environment. Advanced Disposal is a registered participant with the Climate Action Reserve and upon completion of a thorough verification process established by the Reserve, Advanced Disposal is awarded carbon offset credits that can be sold to other consumers or utilities that desire to offset their greenhouse gas generation.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has endorsed landfill gas as an environmentally friendly energy resource that reduces our reliance on fossil fuels, such as coal and oil. Advanced Disposal is an active participant in landfill gas-to-energy projects at our MSW landfills and continues to look for smart solutions for solving our community’s needs.

To read the original article click here: http://www.advanceddisposal.com/for-mother-earth/education-zone/landfill-gas-to-energy.aspx

Landfill Power: Turning Gas into Energy

Paul Pabor, VP of Renewable Energy with Waste Management explains how they turn landfill gas into energy.

One source of renewable energy comes from landfills. Waste Management generates enough energy from its landfills to power over 400,000 homes (equivalent to 7,000,000 barrels of oil). Through a process called “landfill-gas-to-energy”, they are ensuring that the waste they collect does not necessarily go to waste.

Did you know that Waste Management produces more energy than the entire solar industry in the US.

How does the landfill gas to energy circle work? Biodegradable materials are disposed of into landfills which then biodegradable creating landfill gas which is captured and collected and sent to generators to provide energy for communities nearby.

Depending on where you live, when you turn on a light switch, that energy could be coming from the biodegradable materials thrown away into a landfill. Your plastics enhanced with ENSO RESTORE landfill biodegradable additive also biodegrade within the landfill and contribute to the landfill gas to energy circle.

From apple to light-bulb and now plastics to energy. Landfill gas-to-energy is some really Back to the Future kind of stuff. Its time we expand the way we think about energy!

Energy from Landfill Gas

Begin with the Bin – Be smart with your recycling and garbage.

As landfill waste decomposes, it produces methane and other gases. More than 75 percent of this gas is available for use as “green” energy. Landfill gas can be used to generate electricity, or it can be piped directly to a nearby manufacturing plant, school, government building and other facility for heating and cooling.

Trash, buried beneath a layer of soil, decomposes and produces gas. Landfill operators place collection wells that act like straws throughout a landfill to draw out the methane gas. The gas is then piped to a compression and filtering unit beside the landfill. Technicians make sure that the gas is filtered properly before it is sent to its end user. The entire process is carefully managed to prevent odors and leakage of waste material.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as of July 2014, there are 636 operational projects in 48 states generating nearly 2,000 megawatts of electricity per year and delivering enough renewable energy to power nearly 1.1 million homes and heat over 700,000 homes. It is worth noting that the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that landfill gas recovery directly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA estimates that using methane as renewable energy instead of oil and gas has the annual environmental and energy benefits equivalent to:

  • The greenhouse gas emissions from more than 33 million passenger cars
  • Or eliminating carbon dioxide emissions from over 11.6 billion gallons of gasoline consumed
  • Or sequestering carbon from over 22.1 million acres of pine or fir forests.
  • Higher energy prices have helped these activities become one of the fastest growing segments of our industry. As of July 2013, EPA estimates that about 440 additional landfills currently are candidates for landfill-gas-to-energy projects, with the potential to produce enough electricity to power 500,000 homes. And continued innovation will allow us to expand the use of landfill gas for energy. One example is a “bioreactor”: a landfill where liquids are added to the waste and re-circulated to make the trash decompose faster and speeds the production of landfill gas. This is not a hypothetical technology – this is happening now.

    Download our new Landfill Gas Renewable Energy Fact Sheet.

    Read the original Begin with the Bin article here: http://beginwiththebin.org/innovation/landfill-gas-renewable-energy

    Just the Facts! Landfill Gas Renewable Energy

    What is landfill gas?
    Landfill gas is the product of the anaerobic decomposition of organic materials in a landfill. Methane comprises approximately half of this gas and can be converted into a renewable energy product. The EPA established the Landfill Methane Outreach Program to promote landfill gas beneficial use projects by partnering with states, local governments and the private sector. This program is a cornerstone of federal renewable energy initiatives.

    What kind of energy can landfill gas produce?
    Electricity generation is the most common energy recovery use, with two-thirds of existing projects producing this form of renewable energy. One third of the projects directly use landfill gas in boilers, dryers, kilns, etc.

    Companies using landfill gas include BMW, SC Johnson, Tropicana, Ford, Dupont, Honeywell, Sunoco, General Motors, Fujifilm, Dart, Stouffers, Anheuser Busch, Frito-Lay, and many more.

    How many landfills convert gas to energy?
    According to EPA’s Landfill Methane Outreach program, as of July 2013, 621 landfill gas energy recovery programs are operating in the United States and approximately 450 other landfills are good candidates for these projects.

    What are the energy benefits of using landfill gas as a renewable energy source?
    As of October, 2012, existing recovery projects produced annual amounts of 14.8 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and 102 billion cubic feet of landfill gas for direct use.

    EPA estimates these products provide annual energy benefits of powering 1 million homes — a little fewer than in the state of Nevada and heating 736,000 homes — about the number of homes in Maine.

    What are the environmental benefits of using landfill gas as a renewable energy?
    In addition to the energy conservation benefits provided by converting landfill gas into a renewable energy product, reduces greenhouse gases produced by fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, diesel or other fuel oil. EPA estimated for 2012 that landfill gas recovery projects had an annual environmental benefit of carbon sequestered annually by more than 21 million acres of pine or fir forests OR carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions from 238 million barrels of oil consumed OR annual greenhouse gas emissions from 20 million passenger vehicles.

    Landfill gas recovery is recognized by EPA’s Green Power Partnership and 37 states as a source of green, renewable energy.

    Landfill gas is generated 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Its generation is not dependent on environmental factors such as the amount of sunlight or wind. In fact, landfill gas supplies more renewable energy in the United States than solar power. Landfill gas recovery has an on-line reliability of more than 90 percent.

    Find the original National Waste and Recycling Association document and Landfill Gas Renewable Energy Fact Sheet here: http://beginwiththebin.org/images/documents/landfill/Landfill-Gas-Renewable-Energy-Fact-Sheet.pdf

    Landfill biomethane to fuel 400 UPS vehicles across California

    CALIFORNIA, US

    American courier United Parcel Service (UPS) has signed a partnership with Clean Energy Fuels for the supply of biomethane for its delivery fleet across California.

    Beginning this month, UPS fuelling stations in Sacramento, Fresno and Los Angeles will use renewable natural gas (RNG), known as Redeem, for refueling tractors and delivery vehicles.

    The three stations are expected to provide approximately 1.5 million gallon equivalents annually of RNG fuel to nearly 400 UPS CNG vehicles in California.

    The deal falls in line with UPS’ goal of driving one billion miles using alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet by the end of 2017.

    RNG, also known as biomethane, can be derived from sources including decomposing organic waste in landfills, wastewater treatment and agriculture.

    Mitch Nichols, UPS senior vice president of transportation and engineering, said: “Renewable natural gas is critical to our effort to minimize UPS’s environmental impact while meeting the growing demand for our services.”

    Harrison Clay, president. Clean Energy Fuels, said: “This step by UPS sends a clear message that RNG is a viable, cost-effective alternative to traditional diesel.”

    UPS currently operates natural gas tractors on RNG in the UK, through a partnership with Mercedes Benz.

    Read the original article here: http://www.waste-management-world.com/articles/2015/05/landfill-biomethane-to-fuel-400-ups-vehicles-across-california.html?cmpid=EnlWMW_WeeklyMay72015
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    Waste Wise: Packing It In

    Consider biodegradeable plastic packaging. It’s been touted as a good thing: If the material cannot be or is not recycled or re-used then it has the added benefit of degrading naturally once composted or landfilled. It seems product manufacturers, in an effort to be more sustainable, have focused on making plastic containers and packaging as highly degradable as possible, presumably based on the assumption that the more quickly it breaks down the more environmentally friendly it is.

    On the surface, this makes sense. The more quickly something breaks down, the more quickly it goes away. But there is a flaw in this logic that suggests a disconnect between the manufacturers and their understanding of what happens to the materials upon disposal.

    If biodegradable materials are composted, speedy biodegradation is a good thing, yielding a faster conversion time from waste to soil amendment. The problem is only 8 percent of U.S. municipal solid waste is composted. Of that amount, the vast majority of composted materials are yard trimmings and food waste, not biodegradable packaging materials.

    Given this, where do most of the packaging materials go? While most paper packaging is recycled, nearly 85 percent of plastic packaging and containers (including the biodegradable kind) wind up in a landfill (a small percentage goes to waste-to-energy facilities).

    So if it goes to a landfill, biodegradability is a good thing, right? Not necessarily. Results from a lifecycle analysis by N.C. State University have found that landfilled biodegradable plastics may not be as good for the environment as originally thought. Recall that when biodegradable plastics degrade in a landfill, microbes breakdown the material, converting it to either carbon dioxide or methane, both of which are greenhouse gases. Yet methane is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas compared to carbon dioxide, which means that if the methane generated from a landfill is not captured and utilized, then the biodegradable materials can do more harm than good.

    N.C. State researchers Mort Barlaz, Ph.D., and Ph.D. candidate Jim Levis (who is supported via a Francois Fiessinger scholarship from the Environmental Research and Education Foundation) found that because biodegradable plastics were designed to break down as fast as possible, those placed in a landfill degraded too quickly to be sufficiently captured and utilized. This means that although the intent of the manufacturers is noble, the facts surrounding how packaging waste is currently managed and where it goes means that biodegradable packaging can actually be more harmful for the environment. So do we retreat to non-biodegradable plastics? Not likely.

    There are two possible solutions. On the disposal side, the N.C. State study suggests that landfill gas collection systems put in place earlier go a long way toward capturing the methane released from rapidly degrading materials such as biodegradable plastics. There are logitistical challenges in applying this to every situation.

    A second and perhaps more plausible solution lies further up the supply chain. If the biodegradable materials were designed to degrade more slowly, say on the order of years versus months, then this would ensure that materials ending up in a landfill would generate methane that is sure to be captured and beneficially utilized. Given the amount of plastic that still ends up in a landfill, the larger point is that product manufacturers should take the time to really understand where their materials end up and how this truly impacts sustainability, while at the same time evaluating how policy and human behavior can be modified to shift the scenario to one where the higher recovery of these materials can be achieved.

    “Is Biodegradability a Desirable Attribute for Discarded Solid Waste? Perspectives from a National Landfill Greenhouse Gas Inventory Model” by James Levis and Morton Barlaz has been published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. More information can also be obtained by visiting www.erefdn.org.

    Bryan Staley

    Bryan Staley, P.E., is president of the Environmental Research and Education Foundation, a non-profit foundation that funds and directs scientific research and educational initiatives to benefit…