Monday, June 3, 2013

Public - private partnership converts landfill gas to energy

The legend:  Orange County owns the dump site. A government Recovery Act grant funded initial studies to convert landfill gasses to electrical power. A private investment partnership (Macquarie Infrastructure Partners II) built, and sells power to the public utilities company (Anaheim).  The management team (Ridgewood) remains the same. Citizens and companies purchase the power.
Olinda Alpha Landfill
View above the power plant

Article Tab: Crews sift and position debris for covering at the Olinda Alpha Landfill.
Olinda Alpha landfill dump site, Brae, CA
Orange County Register/Douglas Morino, 4/2/13. "Olinda Alpha:  The end of the road for trash." 

....  "The scent of decaying garbage lingered. "It's the sweet smell of money," said Jeff Schulz, the renewable-energy project manager for Orange County Waste and Recycling, which owns and operates the landfill, as he looked across a field of waste not yet covered with soil. 

The vast expanse of trash above Brea is home to the country's second-largest landfill gas-to-energy project, which generates about 37.5 megawatts of electricity and millions of dollars annually in revenue. Waste buried in the landfill is digested by bacteria, which produces gas rich in methane.  The methane gas is collected through an underground pipeline and transported to one of two on-site power plants, where it is cleaned and turned into electricity. 

The power is purchased by Anaheim Public Utilities. Open patches of trash at the landfill are carefully positioned and covered by soil or tarps each evening, and in some places the garbage is 300 feet deep. At least a foot of soil covers the trash, which takes about a year to start emitting usable methane." Read article.  Note:  Photograph by Joshua Sudock from this article.

Related -  US Department of Energy, "Recovery Act Case Study.*  "Tapping Landfill Gas to Provide Significant Energy Savings and Greenhouse Gas Reductions.  Recovery Act Funding Supports Two Large Landfill Projects. BroadRock Renewables, LLC built two high efficiency electricity generating facilities that utilize landfill gas in in California and Rhode Island.  The two projects received a total of $25 million in U.S. Department of Energy funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. Private-sector cost share for the projects totaled approximately $186 million."  

Waste Management World, 11/24/10. "Large scale landfill gas to energy facilities acquired by investment fund in U.S."  "Macquarie Infrastructure Partners II (MIP II), a North American infrastructure investment fund, and Ridgewood Renewable Power LLC have closed the acquisition by MIP II of two landfill gas-to-energy (LFGTE) facilities from investment vehicles managed by Ridgewood.  .... Full construction is expected to commence late in the fourth quarter 2010." 

* Submitted by Robert Hutchinson

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Kathy Meeh said...

Anonymous 2 AM, please restate you comments about Ox Mountain dump site/landfill, and PG&E not providing service to Palo Alto. Sorry I deleted your comment in error.

Hutch said...

I know an engineer that works for this company. It's really pretty amazing. It not only keeps much of the methane (a greenhouse gas) from entering the atmosphere, but also creates power.

Anonymous said...

I believe I read that the Ox Mountain Landfill on Hwy 92 has a similar program which provides some alternative energy to the City of Palo Alto. I think that Palo Alto is one of the few Bay Area cities that isn't completely served by PG&E. I'm surprised that Ox Mountain didn't sell their energy to the nearby hamlet of Half Moon Bay. Perhaps another reader might have more information about this.

Anonymous said...

How about Mussel Rock? Is that a landfill?

The hippies would have a puppy.

Anonymous said...

Mussel Rock is a trsnfer station only. All waste is then transported to Ox Mountain as is all the garbage collected in Pacifica.

Anonymous said...

Mussell Rock was a dump years ago but it closed. Same with Frontierland Park.

Anonymous said...

So if Mussel Rock WAS a landfill years ago it would be a candidate for a power plant now.

Anonymous said...

Anon@4:23p.m.: not necessarily so, I would think.It is the off gasses of methane that are used to create energy. If the old dump was ventilated and properly capped with dirt, there should not be much lingering methane gasses left.
Of course, this is just my very, very amateurish opinion. Another more educated citizen might weigh in with a different answer.

Anonymous said...

Frontierland Park has a couple vents to vent out the methane gas. Not sure about Mussel Rock.

Anonymous said...

I believe the methane continues to be produced as long as organic material remains buried which can be 100 years or more.