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From Pollutant to Electricity - The Use of Landfill Gas for Energy Energy Law Ainat Margalit May 2003.

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Presentation on theme: "From Pollutant to Electricity - The Use of Landfill Gas for Energy Energy Law Ainat Margalit May 2003."— Presentation transcript:

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2 From Pollutant to Electricity - The Use of Landfill Gas for Energy Energy Law Ainat Margalit May 2003

3 From Pollutant to Electricity - The Use of Landfill Gas for Energy Science Numbers Benefits Disadvantages Regulation Case Study – Kibbutz Evron

4 From Pollutant to Electricity - The Use of Landfill Gas for Energy Science Numbers Benefits Disadvantages Regulation Case Study – Kibbutz Evron

5 What is Landfill Gas (LFG)? LFG is generated when organic materials in landfills are naturally decomposed by bacteria LFG is roughly 50% methane with carbondioxide being the second most prevalent gas. All solid waste landfills emit this gas in amounts that depend on a variety of factors, such as waste composition and landfill size.

6 How is LFG Collected? Landfill is sealed from above. i.e. by a layer of clay. Gas collection wells are placed in the landfill. Passive gas collection – uses natural variations in landfill gas pressure and concentrations (not considered very reliable)

7 How is LFG collected? (cont.) Active gas collection – use of vacuum or pumps to move gas out of the landfill

8 Treatment of gas after collection Combustion – open or closed flame flares, enclosed combustion which creates energy (boilers, process heaters, gas turbines, internal combustion engines) Noncombustion – Energy recovery technology – phosphoric acid fuel cell, other fuel cells are being developed. Gas to product technologies – converting LFG into commercial products, (natural gas, methanol, purified CO2 or methane)

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10 The Process

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12 Determining if a Site is a Good Candidate for LFG Utilization Site Characteristics  Site Location  Landfill still receives waste (or is recently closed)  Landfill is near power grid or industry that could use the gas  Landfill has land available for alternative applications

13 Determining if a Site is a Good Candidate for LFG Utilization (cont.) Site Acceptance Landfill gas utilization project is accepted by the local government and community Determining Methane Production Potential Quantity of Waste in the Landfill 1.2 million metric tons of waste in place Waste Composition Organics produce high quantities of methane

14 Determining if a Site is a Good Candidate for LFG Utilization (cont.) Waste Placement History Older waste produces less methane Site Conditions Status of Landfill Operation Open Recently closed (less than 5-7 years)

15 Determining if a Site is a Good Candidate for LFG Utilization (cont.) Landfill Type Managed Landfills daily cover compaction final cover Open Dumps

16 Determining if a Site is a Good Candidate for LFG Utilization (cont.) Landfill Depth Greater than 10 meters Climate More than 10 cm of rain annually

17 Determining if a Site is a Good Candidate for LFG Utilization (cont.) Management of Moisture in the Landfill Leachate Management Landfill Stability Geology/ Hydrogeology Lined landfill site Unlined landfills produce higher methane generation if located in soils that have low permeability, such as clay Temperature - methane production is maximized between degrees Celsius

18 From Pollutant to Electricity - The Use of Landfill Gas for Energy Science Numbers Benefits Disadvantages Regulation Case Study – Kibbutz Evron

19 Numbers There are 2,500 municipal solid waste landfills currently operating in the United States, approximately 340 have LFG utilization projects, 230 of which are electricity generation projects. Approximately 60 more projects are currently under construction.

20 Numbers (cont.) A landfill with 1 million tons of waste-in- place can typically support an 800 kilowatt (kW) to 1 MW electricity generation project Costs to generate electricity from landfill gas typically range from 4 to 6 cents/kWh (for reciprocating engine projects).

21 To determine the environmental and energy benefits of an LFG utilization project, LMOP compiled the following figures: 1 million tons of municipal solid waste in a landfill typically generates 300 cubic foot per minute (cfm) of landfill gas that could then generate 7,000,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year. 7,000,000 kWh is enough energy to power 700 homes for a year. In order to determine greenhouse gas benefits for a specific LFG utilization project replace the waste in a landfill in the first bullet above with the actual tons of waste in a particular landfill and calculate what the environmental and energy benefits will be for that project.

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24 From Pollutant to Electricity - The Use of Landfill Gas for Energy Science Numbers Benefits Disadvantages Regulation Case Study – Kibbutz Evron

25 Benefits Using LFG as a fuel suppresses release of methane to the atmosphere and results in reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. An LFG electricity project captures roughly 85% of the methane emitted from the landfill.

26 Greenhouse Gas Methane Sources U.S. Sources of Methane Emissions EPA 1997 Estimate

27 DOE Estimates of Methane Emissions by Source

28 Benefits (Cont.) Suppression of the characteristic land fill odors and the elimination of potential explosions in nearby areas. Indirectly reduces air pollution by offsetting the use of non-renewable resources. Avoids the need to use non-renewable resources such as coal, oil, or natural gas to produce the same amount of electricity.

29 Benefits (Cont.) LFG projects promote environmental awareness among citizens involved in sustainable community planning, creating partnerships, and promoting common interests among local entities. Using LFG can benefit environmental compliance

30 Benefits (Cont.) Only LFG energy recovery or use offers communities and landfill owners the opportunity to reduce the costs associated with regulatory compliance by turning pollution into a valuable community resource. Using LFG can benefit the local economy

31 From Pollutant to Electricity - The Use of Landfill Gas for Energy Science Numbers Benefits Disadvantages Regulation Case Study – Kibbutz Evron

32 Disadvantages Does not create sufficient electricity because of make up of specific site. (e.g. Distance from landfill site) Does not create sufficient electricity because of lack of appropriate sites. Not completely “clean”. there may still be emissions from combustion engines Economic feasibility

33 From Pollutant to Electricity - The Use of Landfill Gas for Energy Science Numbers Benefits Disadvantages Regulation Case Study – Kibbutz Evron

34 Regulation Applicable regulations under the Clean Air Act NSPS Emission Guidelines NESHAP PSD/NSR TITLE V State and local

35 Regulation (Cont.) General requirements for LFG Handling & Disposal Emission monitoring Emission testing Reporting Report keeping NMOC reporting Gas collecting Well monitoring

36 Landfill Methane Outreach Program LMOP works in voluntary partnership with states, communities, the landfill industry, utilities, and energy users, providing technical assistance for Municipal Solid Waste LFG use projects. Created by the USEPA in 1994.

37 From Pollutant to Electricity - The Use of Landfill Gas for Energy Science Numbers Benefits Disadvantages Regulation Case Study – Kibbutz Evron

38 Kibbutz Evron Landfill

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40 Landfill Statistics Approximately 20 acres of landfill million tons of waste 60 cm clay cover Landfill opened in 1968 Landfill is currently closed (not accepting new waste), because it does not comply with regulations The landfill contains 70-80% household waste.

41 Gas Collection System 25 collection wells, each containing a plastic pipe. Gas is collected from individual plots until each plot is emptied Collection wells are 90 cm in diameter and 25 meters deep. The bottom section of the collection pipe is perforated.

42 Gas Collection System (cont.) Each well is connected to a pipe which leads the gas to a pipeline connected to the engine site. The gas is collected by vacuum.

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45 Methane Disposal Before Energy Generation In order to comply with pollution regulations the LFG had to be collected and disposed of. LFG was disposed of by simple combustion. CO2 was the expectorant. This was not entirely “clean” but a considerable reduction of methane emissions was achieved.

46 Combustion tower

47 Energy Creation Process Evron discovered that the LFG from their site contained Methane (57%) and CO2 (38%). The gas also contains about 0.1% Oxygen. At least 50% Methane is necessary in order to create electricity. An internal combustion engine was installed. Currently the engine creates 850 kilowatt electricity per hour. The maximum potential is 1,400 KW per hour.

48 Energy Creation Process (cont.) The anaerobic activity which creates the gas should continue for at least 20 years.

49 Internal Combustion Engine

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52 Energy to the Kibbutz 400 volt cables lead from the engine site to the Kibbutz and are transformed to electricity that can be used by the families and the Kibbutz factory. The project creates 40-60% of the Kibbutz’ energy. There are 300 Kibbutz members, about 200 homes and a factory. The daily usage is about 2 megawatts per hour. At night the project supplies all of the Kibbutz electricity needs and excess energy is created.

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54 Legal Cooperation with the Israeli Electric Company The Israeli Electric Company has cooperated fully with the Kibbutz. In order to comply with antitrust laws the Electric Company must buy at least 10% of their production. The creation of electricity by the Kibbutz is deducted from this amount. A synchronization board switches from the project site electric cable to the Israeli Electric Company electricity source when there is not enough electricity from the project site.

55 Creating Electricity for Others? Today, the Kibbutz has a license to produce energy only for itself. In order to sell electricity, for example, the excess created at night, the Kibbutz needs a license as a private electricity provider. This is the first license of this type in Israel. The Kibbutz hopes to receive such a license, but they are currently having problems with the construction permit that precedes such a license.

56 Economic Issues The Kibbutz received no outside funding for the project The entire project cost $1 million. The Kibbutz had an initial investment of $500,000 for the gas collection system and combustion tower. The yearly electrical costs of the Kibbutz were 3 million Shekel ($650,000). The electricity saves the Kibbutz 1 million Shekel ($220,000) a year. The electrical cost that the Kibbutz receives for the electricity is the high consumer price. Expected return of investment: 3-5 years.

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58 Conclusions Multiple environmental and economic advantages make energy from LFG a beneficial endeavor. Unfortunately, the conditions of a given landfill must be “just right” in order to collect LFG which can create energy. In addition, factors such as proximity to energy consumers, etc. can make a LFG electricity not worthwhile. Energy from LFG should be pursued at compatible sites in order to supplement existing electricity sources.

59 Questions?


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