About Landfill Gas
When organic material decomposes in a landfill, it produces landfill gas. This gas consists of approximately 50 percent methane, 45 percent carbon dioxide and small amounts of nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, and non-methane organic compounds. The primary component of landfill gas, methane, is a greenhouse gas which can be harmful to the environment if it is not managed. At many landfills, methane is burned in a flare so it isn’t released into the environment. However, in a more productive operation, landfill gas is collected and used as a source of renewable power.
Utilizing Landfill Gas
Landfill gas is utilized in two primary ways. It can either be used for electric generation, or as a direct-use fuel. As a “direct-use” fuel, methane gas is recovered from a landfill, transported via a network of pipes to an on-site gas production facility and then piped to nearby industrial users. Typically, the gas is used to fuel boilers, furnaces, ovens, or other combustion equipment for large energy users.
When used to generate electricity, recovered methane gas fuels engine generator sets that produce electricity onsite at the landfill. The resulting electricity is then sold to a local utility or to other electrical customers.
Granger runs both electric generating stations and direct-use projects.
Advantages of Landfill Gas Energy
- Landfill gas is a reliable source of energy because it is generated 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- By using landfill gas to produce energy, landfills can significantly reduce emissions of methane and decrease the need to generate energy from fossil fuels.
According to the EPA Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP) landfill gas projects also provide an array of benefits in the local economy:
- Landfill gas use can create jobs associated with the design, construction and operation of energy recovery systems.
- Landfill gas projects involve engineers, construction firms, equipment vendors and utilities or end-users of the power produced.
- Businesses are also realizing the cost savings associated with using landfill gas as a replacement for fossil fuels, such as natural gas.