Each year, the Environmental Protection Agency's Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP), Washington, D.C., hosts its Annual Conference and Project Expo, where it recognizes “the landfill gas industry's best and brightest.” The EPA recognizes these Project and Partner of the Year award winners have overcome project development barriers, forged alliances and created business opportunities to establish successful projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
LMOP and Waste Age magazine honor the five 2001 winners.
LMOP Energy Ally of the Year
International Truck and Engine Corp.
Springfield Assembly Plant
When Ohio's Tremont City sanitary landfill closed in 1995, Springfield Gas Co. Inc., an independently owned company specializing in landfill gas (LFG) extraction, identified this as a great opportunity to use, rather than flare, the LFG. Springfield Gas approached nearby International Truck and Engine Corp.'s Springfield Assembly Plant about using the landfill methane as fuel.
International agreed to the proposal, and the two companies began developing plans to replace natural gas with landfill methane to fire process paint ovens, hot water boilers and other plant units. Chicago-based International envisioned the gas could be used in its radiant heat surface coating ovens, which was believed to be the first LFG industrial application of its kind.
Springfield Gas faced considerable challenges. First, the company had to obtain property access for pipeline construction and the rights to the gas — no easy task. The local community voiced concerns about reported groundwater contamination, an explosion in a nearby well pump house and other public health issues. Additionally, local citizens already had united as Citizens for Water (CFWATER) to oppose a newly proposed landfill at the same location.
To address these concerns, International and Springfield established an intense community outreach program, immediately holding public meetings throughout the area at locations such as the Tremont City Council, neighbors' homes and CFWATER gatherings. The partners also conducted a direct mailing campaign to describe the energy partnership and the potential community benefits to area residents. And, Springfield Gas visited citizens in each of its five proposed pipeline routes to address project concerns.
The outreach helped grow support for the project, but other barriers remained. When Springfield Gas had difficulty obtaining environmental permits International again assisted, meeting with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to provide information about the project's environmental and economic benefits. This helped the permitting process to progress.
More than five years after Springfield and International initially sat down, the project is expected to be operational by July of this year. The companies' efforts were not made in vain. Springfield Gas estimates the partnership will save the plant an estimated $100,000 annually in avoided natural gas costs, and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 150,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
Industry Ally of the Year
Granger Energy and Rolls-Royce
Most people might know Rolls-Royce for its famous cars, but worldwide, the company also strives to achieve the highest environmental, health and safety performance standards while upholding its values of reliability, integrity and innovation.
As part of an environmental commitment, in 1996, the company eliminated using coal in four boilers at its Indianapolis manufacturing plant by converting them to burn natural gas. The following year, Lansing-based Granger Energy LLC approached Rolls-Royce about the possibility of using surplus landfill gas from the South Side Landfill to fuel the plant.
Rolls-Royce saw this as another opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to the environment. And, the success of previous South Side Landfill projects helped to pave the way for Rolls-Royce's gas application.
Encompassing more than 200 acres, the South Side Landfill has more than 15 million tons of waste in place. The landfill was home to the state's first landfill gas-to-energy project, which provides gas to the six-acre Crossroads Greenhouse nearby.
In 1999, Rolls-Royce signed a partnership agreement with Granger Energy as the landfill gas-to-energy (LFGTE) project developer, gas lessor and project co-owner, and South Side Landfill as the gas lessee and co-owner of the recovery project. Rolls-Royce then converted three of its boilers to accommodate the landfill methane. Granger supplies gas to the manufacturer's boilers, which produce steam to support the company's aircraft engine manufacturing operation. In 2001, Rolls-Royce also modified a 5-megawatt turbine, which generates electricity for onsite use, to run on landfill gas.
The project already has saved Rolls-Royce nearly $2 million in avoided fuel costs. The reductions in nitrogen oxide emissions are expected to be more than 20 tons per year. Greenhouse gas emissions also were reduced by more than 240,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2000.
The city of Indianapolis, the Mayor's office, and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management support the project. The state and Federal governments also have recognized the project. In 2000, Rolls-Royce received the Governor's Award for Excellence in Pollution Prevention, as well as recognition from the U.S. Department of Energy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
According to Thomas Jennings, Manager of Power & Utilities at Rolls-Royce, the project demonstrates a successful public-private partnership, and his company's commitment to environmental protection.
LMOP Partner of the Year
Horry County Solid Waste Authority Inc. of South Carolina
A pioneer in South Carolina, Horry County successfully opened the state's first landfill gas-to-energy project on Sept. 4, 2001, at its 737-acre landfill in Conway, S.C.
Initially, the Horry County Solid Waste Authority, which owns the landfill, had several options for disposing of its methane. But in keeping with its mission of “Protecting Tomorrow's Environment Today,” the authority chose to generate clean energy.
This led the authority to join with state-owned utility Santee Cooper, Horry Electric Cooperative and Central Electric Power Cooperative to develop a LFGTE project that fuels two generators, with the possibility of fueling an additional two boilers.
Under the partnership, the authority owns and operates the landfill gas collection system and sells the gas to Santee Cooper, which owns and operates the generating equipment that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Horry Electric Cooperative and Central Electric Power Cooperative provide the transmission lines. Now, residents and commercial customers have the option to purchase “green power” in the state's first green power generating station and green pricing program, or regulated green power offering.
With the green pricing program, instead of buying natural gas, residents may purchase LFG in blocks of 100 kilowatt-hours, and commercial customers can purchase LFG in blocks of 200 kilowatt-hours at a premium of 3 cents per kilowatt-hour. Revenues from these sales then are applied to future green power projects, which further supports renewable energy resource development.
Enough customers already have signed up for the program to represent 20 percent of the landfill gas project output, demonstrating the community's support for the environmental benefits of using LFG for energy.
At full capacity, the plant will produce enough electricity to provide power in blocks to approximately 9,300 residential customers. The 2.2-megawatt plant also can reduce emissions of methane equal to planting more than 80 million trees in a reforestation project. All green power revenues will be invested in future green power projects.
Based on its efforts, the county has received recognition from South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges, who notes that the state is looking at developing other landfill gas-to-energy projects. Being “first” in the state also has earned the project local and national publicity.
LMOP Projects of the Year
National Energy Resource Corp. (NERC) with Middlesex County Utility Authority
In Middlesex County, N.J., it wasn't enough for NERC, based in Burlington, Conn., to convert landfill gas to energy at just a single landfill — the company incorporated three large landfills to produce enough LFG to power the county's wastewater treatment operations and to supply green power to the grid.
NERC has connected landfill gas production facilities at the Middlesex, Edison and Industrial Land Reclaiming landfills with an 8-mile underground pipeline that runs beneath the Raritan River and connects to the largest landfill gas-fueled advance-stage energy center east of the Mississippi. NERC's Middlesex Generating Co. LLC operates the delivery pipeline and the integrated energy plant, which features dual 5.5 combined-cycle combustion turbines, dual heat recovery steam generators with auxiliary duct firing and a 10.6-megawatt steam turbine. The plant has a gross design rating of 20 megawatts but is capable of more.
The project provides cost-competitive thermal energy for the Middlesex County Utility Authority's publicly owned treatment works (POTW) operations. This includes oxygen production for sludge treatment, as well as green power for the grid. Excess power is sold as green power throughout New Jersey.
The environmental benefits of the project's energy production include displacing nearly 20 megawatts of fossil-fueled power and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 2 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent through the year 2000.
NERC applied path-breaking finance and development structures over five years to overcome implementation barriers. Now, the project generates nearly $2 million annually in monetized Section 29 tax credit revenues.
LMOP Projects of the Year
City of Los Angeles
Bureau of Sanitation
The city of Los Angeles, Bureau of Sanitation has developed not one, but two landfill gas-to-energy projects at the Lopez Canyon Landfill. The first energy production facility, operational since 1998, generates 6 megawatts (MW) of power with a third of the landfill's available gas. Soon, a 1.5-MW energy facility consisting of 50 30-kilowatt (kW) microturbines will be added to the site. Using more of the landfill's methane and further reducing harmful emissions, the project will produce enough energy for 1,500 homes.
The city actually developed a landfill gas-to-energy project idea in 1986, but it took 13 years to overcome project barriers. Among the problems hindering the project were an unfavorable electric power market, challenging geological site conditions (seismic faults), and numerous regulatory and financial hurdles. But the deregulation of the California power market and the 1995 Section 29 tax credit made the project feasible.
The project also benefited from California's power shortage in early 2001. Sensing it could help alleviate the shortage, Los Angeles' Bureau of Sanitation and Department of Water and Power found a way to use the remaining LFG. In just five months, the city constructed its microturbine energy facility.
The Lopez Canyon microturbine energy facility will be the largest of its kind in the world when it becomes operational this year. It also will eliminate another 10,000 pounds of nitrogen oxide each year, equivalent to removing 500 cars from the road.
As part of the project, the city also plans to build a new Environmental Awareness Center, to inform students and local residents about environmental conservation.
The Bureau is continuing its quest to find uses for the remaining Lopez Canyon LFG, examining options such as converting the gas to compressed or liquid fuel for city vehicles. This project also has paved the way for additional LFG energy recovery facilities at other landfills in the area, promising further development of clean energy and reduction of pollution in Southern California.
Kate Iovanna is the Green Power Coordinator for the EPA's Landfill Methane Outreach Program, Washington, D.C.
ABOUT THE EPA LMOP PROGRAM
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP), Washington, D.C., is a voluntary program that helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by supporting landfill gas use project development. In January, LMOP held its 5th Annual Conference and Project Expo in Washington, D.C., where it presented workshops on such topics as leveraging opportunities in the green power market to develop landfill gas resources, as well as honored its Project and Partner of the Year award winners. For a copy of the conference proceedings, visit www.epa.gov/lmop.
— Kate Iovanna