Methane, a greenhouse gas that is more than 20 times more potent
than carbon dioxide, is naturally produced as organic waste breaks
down anaerobically in landfills. Landfill-gas-to-energy systems
convert the gas to clean-burning fuel.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as of
July 2011 there were 558 operational landfill-gas-to-energy
projects in the United States and an additional 510 landfills that
are good candidates for such systems. The EPA estimates the
gas-generation potential of these untapped landfills is 210 billion
cubic feet per year, with an electric potential of 1,165
In addition to their environmental benefits, landfill
gas-to-energy systems' online reliability is typically more than 90
percent. The systems also act as long-term price and volatility
hedges against fossil fuels.