Ga. landfill gas-to-energy facility begins testing phase

By Luke Geiver | April 11, 2012

A DeKalb County, Ga., renewable energy center located at the Seminole Road Landfill will soon be turning methane gas into cash, according to DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis.

On April 16, a ribbon cutting ceremony will take place, officially starting a testing and commissioning process of the facility’s machinery. In May, the plant will be injecting renewable natural gas into to the Atlanta Gas Light pipeline. And by fall of 2012, the renewable energy facility will also act as an on-site fueling station for sanitation trucks converted to run on compressed natural gas (CNG). 

According to the communications office of Ellis, the landfill site will be the first to convert landfill gas to CNG for both vehicles and renewable natural gas that is injected into a pipeline. “While there are CNG pumps on pipelines, and processing facilities at landfills, we are the first to pump directly at the landfill,” according to the DeKalb County CEO’s office. 

The county has already converted 70 vehicles to run on the CNG produced at the site. The county also forecasts a fuel savings over diesel of roughly $3 million over the next eight years by using the CNG made at the landfill. The end goal for the county is to convert all 306 sanitation vehicles in the fleet to run on CNG.

The facility in DeKalb County was designed by Energy Systems Group and funded in part by the Clean Cities Atlanta Petroleum Reduction Program. Billy Malone, with DeKalb County Public Works/Sanitation, spoke about the facility during a previous groundbreaking ceremony marking the beginning of the construction phase. “I can’t think of anything more full circle than a garbage truck that picks up garbage and at the end of the day fills up their truck with gas that is made from that garbage.”

Energy Systems Group, a subsidiary of Indiana-based Vectren Corp., has also designed or developed several other landfill gas-to-energy facilities.