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Landfill to gas, USA



Project Summary

Landfill Gas (LFG) is the natural by-product of anaerobic bacterial activity, which causes the organic matter that exists within landfills to decompose over time. The resulting emissions into the atmosphere are a major contributor to global warming, accounting for over 35% of the man-made methane gas emissions in the United States.


In 2004, the flare at this disused landfill site was replaced with a power plant that uses the captured LFG to generate electricity. Since methane is a major component of LFG and is also the main component of natural gas, LFG can serve as an alternative to natural gas in order to generate electrical energy. A power plant is housed in a building located adjacent to the landfill, and generates around 3,500 kilowatts.


The project provides good economic use of otherwise unusable land, by transforming what was once considered waste into consumable commercial energy.


Project Description

As indicated above, the project now uses the LFG to produce electricity rather than burning it in the flare. The power plant is housed in a building located adjacent to the landfill, and supports electrical generation facilities of 3500 kilowatts. Two internal combustion engines of 1750 kilowatts each turn electric generators to produce and deliver power output for local distribution. Commonwealth Edison purchases all of the output from the facility, which provides electrification for around 3,500 homes in the area.


Contribution to Sustainable Development

  • By demonstrating a feasible small-scale solution to reduce carbon emissions, the project can be used as an educational tool.
  • By displacing some of the need for fossil fuel by generating clean and renewable energy.
  • The removal of LFG from the site may allow the land around the property to eventually be used as a recreational area.