Allied Waste and Ameresco to process landfill gas
Voters in Columbia, Missouri, approved a proposal to adopt a local renewable portfolio standard (RPS), which requires the city’s municipal utility, Columbia Water & Light (CW&L), to generate or purchase renewable-energy. To meet their needs, CW&L selected Ameresco, an energy services company and developer of clean energy projects, to build a 3.2 megawatt (MW) landfill gas electricity generation facility. “This project will make up 2 percent of CW&L’s energy portfolio, and will provide us with a fixed-cost green power source for the next 20 years,” said CW&L’s director, Dan Dasho.
Ameresco will develop, own, and operate the multi-million dollar landfill gas-to-energy power plant using the gas generated at the Jefferson City Landfill.
Allied Waste Services, the owner and operator of the landfill, supported Ameresco’s efforts to put the naturally-occurring methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is now captured and burned at the landfill.
The gas generation project took another innovative twist. The State of Missouri was interested in reducing costs at state-owned facilities. Ameresco suggested that the generation facility could be located on the property of a nearby local prison and use the waste heat from the engines to heat the prison’s water supply.
This project will reduce direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 23,288 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year, a local environmental benefit equivalent to removing more than 30,000 cars from Missouri’s roads, or planting nearly 40,000 trees annually.
Until now, the methane gas was safely extracted through wells and pipes buried in the landfill and then combusted in a flare. The gas will now be diverted from the flare to the landfill gas plant, which will be equipped with specialized engines designed to burn landfill gas. The three engines are expected to produce a combined 3.1 megawatts of electricity – enough to meet the annual power needs of over 2,000 homes.