Renewable Natural Gas

Methane is a greenhouse gas (GHG) produced naturally in landfills that is 20 times more potent in warming capabilities than carbon dioxide.  Historically, waste gas was flared away, but current technologies allow for the harnessing of this gas and its conversion into many beneficial uses.  

For example, landfill gas (LFG) can be used directly as a substitute fuel in the generation of electricity for engines or turbines in the on-site power plant of the landfill.  Other "medium-BTU" gas uses include the offsetting of fossil fuel in steam boilers, burners and utility power plants for a single customer which would require a dedicated delivery pipe to the customer facility.  A "high-BTU" application would initially clean the product to natural gas specifications and then inject it into a natural gas pipeline.  This high-BTU gas could also be compressed or liquified and stored on-site for use as a compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquid natural gas (LNG) fueling station.  These applications also provide significant environmental value through the reduction of GHG, and can offer a typical online system reliability of more than 90 percent.  This allows the system to act as a long-term price and volatility hedge against fossil fuels.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as of June 2017 there were 634 operational landfill-gas-to-energy projects in the United States and an additional 401 landfills that are good candidates for such systems.  The EPA estimates the gas generation potential of these landfills is 250 billion cubic feet per year, with an electric potential of 1,237 megawatts.

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