Landfill gas to energy

Figure from Harnessing landfill gas (LFG) for electricity: A strategy to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Jakarta (Indonesia) by Kurniawan et. al.

Research is being conducted by CCL to leverage waste as a valuable resource for energy recovery. Through capture and utilization of landfill gas, sanitary landfills in the United States can achieved reduction in methane emissions, which is of critical importance as the contribution to anthropogenic climate change from generated landfill gas (LFG) is well-established. Conversion of methane to carbon dioxide, posing a lower global warming potential, via flaring is relatively straightforward to implement, yet it foregoes an opportunity for energy recovery.  

Emissions and performance data has been collected from the operation of an internal combustion engine as a stationary power source operating on surrogate landfill gas blends. Building on the landfill gas reforming research by prior CCL researchers, feasibly upgraded landfill gas has been shown to produce sufficiently robust engine performance for adequate power generation under load. CO and HC+NOx emissions were found to meet EPA and CARB standards for equivalently powered commercial engines which have been certified in the same model year as the tested engine. 

With a potential for both greenhouse gas reduction and energy recovery achieved via the utilization of landfill gas, this facet of the landfill pathway for waste management could be greatly impactful.