Will the smell of the local landfill in the morning remind us of energy victory someday? Quite possibly.
For now at least we have the Environmental Protection Agency assisting the transition from trash to green power, basically through innovation and transformation one landfill at a time. The agency recently recognized six landfill methane capture projects and partners “for their innovation in generating renewable energy and protecting the climate and people’s health by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.”
The six winners, announced at the 14th Annual Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP) Conference in Baltimore, include a project that powers manufacturing at a green business park in Indiana and a 10 megawatt combined cycle power plant in Ohio. These projects will contribute to job creation and provide energy savings and green power generation, EPA says.
Methane, a primary component of landfill gas, is a GHG with more than 20 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. EPA says using landfill gas has several benefits: it provides a significant energy resource, prevents GHG emissions, and reduces odors and other hazards associated with emissions.
Winners this year are Montgomery Regional Solid Waste Authority Small Engine Project, Christiansburg, Va; Frederick County Electricity Project, Winchester, Va.; Crow Wing County Small On-site LFG Boiler Project, Brainerd, Minn.; Hoffman Road LFG and Bay View WWTP Digester Gas 10-MW Project, Toledo, Ohio; and Newton County Renewable Energy Park LFG Direct-Use Project, Brook, Ind. The community partner of the year is Escambia County, Pensacola, Fla.
This year’s winning projects will avoid emissions of 165,600 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. This reduction is equal to the annual GHG emissions from more than 31,600 passenger vehicles or the carbon dioxide emissions from 385,200 barrels of oil consumed. The direct-use projects will use 830 standard cubic feet per minute and the electricity-generating projects total 13.3 megawatts of generation capacity.
EPA has assisted with more than 490 landfill gas energy projects over the last 16 years. Landfill gas electricity generation projects have a capacity of 1,680 megawatts (MW) and provide the energy equivalent of powering more than 994,000 homes annually as a clean energy source. The U.S. has about 540 operational landfill gas energy projects.
EPA’s LMOP is a voluntary assistance and partnership program that reduces GHG emissions by supporting landfill gas energy project development. The program also assists countries throughout the world in developing landfill methane reduction projects through the international Global Methane Initiative.
There’s a certain air about about using landfill waste in a new way: as a source of energy and energy independence.