Landfill Gas-to-Electricity Plant
About Landfill Gas
Landfill gas is produced when oxygen mixes with decomposing garbage. This gas is mainly made up of carbon dioxide and methane. Methane is a natural gas and an energy source, but is also a greenhouse gas (GHG). It is flammable and explosive in certain concentrations, which is why it needs to be controlled. Since 1991, Hartland has been collecting this gas using a network of wells and pipes. Until recently, the landfill gas was burned using a flare to reduce GHGs.
Turning Garbage into Electricity
In 2003, a landfill gas-to-electricity plant was built next to the flare station to utilize the methane in the landfill gas to produce electricity. The facility now produces close to 1.6 megawatts of green power – enough electricity to supply about 1,600 homes.
How We Do it
The facility contains a reciprocating engine which works very much like the spark ignition in a car, except instead of gasoline, methane is the fuel. Mechanical energy is turned into electrical energy. The electricity produced is fed into the existing BC Hydro distribution system on-site.
A public-private partnership was undertaken to develop the landfill-gas-to-electricity plant. Maxim Power Corporation built and operates the facility and sells the power to BC Hydro. The CRD owns 70% of the equipment and leases it back to Maxim. In return for the landfill gas, Maxim pays a royalty to the CRD. Maxim develops, owns and operates other environmentally-sound power plants and commissioned a similar facility at the City of Vancouver landfill in Delta.