JANUARY 2011
                                        

Frederick County converts landfill’s greenhouse gases

Frederick County and SCS Engineers along with SCS Field Services (SCS) celebrated the opening of the new landfill gas-to-energy (LFGE) system installed at the Frederick County Regional Landfill.

The $4.5 million project was completed by a partnership between the county’s Department of Public Works and SCS. SCS Engineers provided engineering, and SCS Field Services provided contracting services for the project. Joe Wilder, the department’s deputy director, notes that the project was funded from landfill revenues.

The project will generate revenues through the recovery and use of methane gas which is generated by the gradual decomposition of solid waste in the landfill. Combustion of the methane gas will substantially reduce the emission of greenhouse gases from this landfill. To capture the landfill gas, wells were drilled into the waste mass at various points, according to Darrin D. Dillah, an SCS vice president. A vacuum draws the gas from the wells, which are located in both the closed and active parts of the landfill, and transmits it to the power generation facility. System components remove water from the gas, which is then compressed before being sent to the internal combustion (IC) engines.

Each of the two IC engines has 20 cylinders and generates just under 1,500 horsepower, Dillah said, equivalent to about 1 megawatt of electricity. The electricity is connected to the local power grid. “The electricity generated here is being used in nearby homes and industrial plants.”

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, which provides power to part of the county, will be buying the power generated by the facility.