Wisconsin landfill gas-to-energy project expands

By Staff | November 03, 2014

Dane County’s Rodefeld landfill is undergoing an expansion that will double its landfill gas-to-energy project to double electricity production. The upgrades will also extend the life of the landfill for an additional 30 years.

The landfill currently generates approximately $3.3 million in electricity each year, enough to power 4,000 homes. The power is purchased by Madison Gas and Electric. Following the expansion, the landfill will enable production of more than 6 MW of electricity during peak years. In addition to increasing the production of renewable power, the expansion is also expected to provide energy that will eventually heat a nearby medical examiner’s building and Dane County highway garage.

The project capitalizes on a pilot project at the landfill that encourages garbage to decay faster. Leachate, the liquid that comes out of garbage, is collected at the bottom of the landfill and pumped back into the waste mass. The project helps keep the waste at a near-optimal moisture level, which helps accelerate the natural decay process. It also allows the landfill to control and increase the amount of gas produced when necessary.