Two projects to reuse landfill gas

By Jessica Ebert
In mid-June, Pittsburgh-based Montauk Energy Capital Inc. opened a facility that will convert landfill gas (LFG) into natural gas at a landfill in Colerain Township, Ohio. "This is the world's largest LFG-to-pipeline-quality-gas project," said Dan Bonk, director of business development for Montauk Energy. By the end of the summer, the company will be separating, purifying and pumping about 6 million cubic feet of natural gas directly into a Duke Energy pipeline each day. In less than two years, that number will increase to about 7.5 million cubic feet per day, enough natural gas to supply the annual needs of about 25,000 homes, Bonk said.

In a separate venture, Montauk Energy partnered with Seattle-based Prometheus Energy Co. to design, build and install a landfill gas conversion facility at an Irvine, Calif., landfill. Currently, the facility produces 2,000 gallons of liquid natural gas (LNG) from LFG per day, but the companies are still in the commissioning phase and ultimately expect to utilize all of the waste gas at the landfill to produce about 40,000 gallons of LNG each day. "Up and down the West Coast, 1 million gallons of potential fuel in the form of landfill gas is burned each day from landfills alone," said Dan Clarkson, vice president of Prometheus. "We tap into that gas right before it goes to the flare." Through a series of steps, methane is separated from total LFG, and then purified and liquefied to form LNG. The initial sale of this biofuel-one of the cleanest burning-will be used to supply all of the LNG needs for the bus fleets of Orange County, Calif., an area known for its poor air quality, Clarkson explained.