How Trash Becomes Energy
Landfill gas is composed of roughly equal parts methane and carbon dioxide and is produced during the waste decomposition process. Landfill gas, which would otherwise be combusted to control emissions under federal rules, can be converted or recycled into electricity. This is process is called waste-to-energy or WTE. Specifically in this case, we are converting gas-to-energy, GTE. A series of wells, currently including 150 wells drilled to a depth of approximately 150 feet deep into the waste mass, are connected by piping that conveys the landfill gas to the GTE Plant. A vacuum system is used to draw the gas from the landfill, however, before the gas reaches the Plant, it is dried and filtered to remove hydrogen sulfide to produce a cleaner gas for combustion.
The GTE Plant consists of six Caterpillar Generator Sets (engines) housed in a sound insulated building on the landfill’s footprint. The electricity produced feeds the local power grid with the plant having a current capacity of 9 megawatts (MW) with a possibility of generating 25 MW as the landfill and fuel source expands.