Gas to Energy at the Steuben County Landfill
Several years ago, the County began operating the active landfill gas control and collection system. This system had been used to collect the Landfill Gas (LFG) to destroy it at the flare. Starting up in November 2010, the Gas to Energy Facility came online. The facility, owned by Steuben Rural Electric Cooperative, uses gas from the County landfill to run engines that produce electricity to be sold on the grid.
This is the construction of a horizontal collection well, used to extract the gas from the landfill. As methane gas is generated due to decomposition of waste, it is collected from the landfill via wells like this one, and then either flared or burned in the Gas to Energy facility.
The large black piping on the left is the landfill gas well. The piping on the right, connected by the flexible tubing is the gas header. The instrument hanging from the well is what is used to check the landfill gas quality. This will provide the methane, oxygen, and carbon dioxide percentages and allow for the well to be tuned for production of the best quality gas.
The Landfill Gas to Energy Facility has two of these 1.6 MW/hr CAT engines. They run on the landfill gas, and each one can produce enough electricity to power over 1300 homes (10 MW/home/year)
The flare has been used at the landfill for years as a means of destruction of the landfill gas. The methane (CH4) in landfill gas is considered to be a 21x more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. So, by collecting the gas and destroying it via the flare, greenhouse gases are eliminated and unpleasant odors are greatly reduced around the landfill.