Landfill Gas Collection and Recovery

Renewable energy from waste

In 2008, the Authority Board of Directors authorized a study to determine the most beneficial utilization of collected landfill gas. Engineer estimates predicted that in 2011 there would be an adequate volume of landfill gas produced to begin energy recovery.

Initially, it was estimated that one generator could be installed which would produce about 1.6 megawatts of power, or enough to provide about 2,100 average homes with power. Over the next 20 years of operations, the number of generator sets is projected to grow to 7 with a total facility power output of 11.2 megawatts, capable of powering over 8,500 homes. The heating needs of the landfill facility will also be met.

The release of methane from landfills is a contributor to greenhouse gas generation. The Authority’s Landfill Gas to Electricity project represents a significant commitment by the Authority to dramatically reduce our carbon footprint by capturing methane from our landfill and converting it to green energy. This project is a win-win for the environment, the Authority and energy consumers.

In 2010, the Authority implemented active landfill gas collection and control through the use of a blower skid and flare. The active landfill gas collection system collects the gas through a network of wells and pipes located in the landfill cells. This collection system puts the landfill under negative pressure pulling gas to the generator and flare, thereby avoiding emissions to the atmosphere.

In order to beneficially utilize the gas, the Authority entered into a contract (via the NYS 120-w procurement process) with Waste Management Renewable Energy (WMRE) to build and operate a landfill gas to electricity facility. The WMRE facility currently features two internal combustion engines that are fueled by landfill gas and thereby generate electricity.

The Municipal Commission of Boonville is also a key participant in this project, primarily through the electrical interconnect and transmission infrastructure aspects on the project.

In the future, there will also be substantial excess heat produced in the electricity generation process that can be recovered. Heat recovery is often an attractive feature in establishing aquaculture, horticultural, or agricultural industries.

This project began generating electricity in early 2012 with one engine. The facility expanded in 2013 with the installation of one additional engine. With the second engine, the facility now generates enough renewable energy to power more than 3,300 homes each year. In 2017, the Authority installed 5 new gas collection wells at the Regional Landfill (RLF) continuing to advance the active landfill gas collection system which brings the total number of vertical wells to 66 and horizontal wells to 16.

Watch the landfill gas to electricity video by clicking here.