Fortistar developing 18 new landfill GTE projects

By Lisa Gibson
New York-based Fortistar LLC will add 18 new landfill-gas-to-energy projects to its portfolio, bringing the total to about 60 plants in operation all over the country. The company secured $105 million in financing for the projects, which represent a 20 percent boost to its methane power plant arsenal.

All the landfill gas plants built, owned and operated by Fortistar produce electricity, which is sold to utilities or municipalities, according to Fortistar managing director Jon Maurer. The company does not own any of the landfills where the plants are installed. Most of the projects use reciprocating engines, burning the methane that emits naturally from the landfills.

The process is green because methane produces 21 times the amount of greenhouse gases as a similar amount of carbon dioxide, according to the company, and the process is renewable because it is the product of the decomposition of garbage in landfills. The U.S. EPA requires the methane to be collected, so projects are built adjacent to the landfills. "We then use that gas as fuel," Maurer said.

The 18 new projects will add another 60 megawatts (MW) to Fortistar's existing capacity of more than 230 MW, according to Maurer. The Fortistar Methane Group owns about 12 percent of the developed landfill gas-to-energy projects in the U.S., according to the company. The group's capabilities include: landfill and digester gas collection systems; electrical generation systems; rapid project development; environmental compliance; renewable energy credits; construction management; and project finance, according to Fortistar.

Besides the Methane Group, Fortistar has a Biomass Group that specializes in wood waste biomass; and the Cogeneration Group, which maximizes output per unit of fuel used, according to the company.

"I think in this day and age, renewable energy has an attraction in this country and around the world," Maurer said.