Environment Waste Management Solid Waste Management Municipal Solid Waste Management MSW to Landfill MSW Landfill Management

Disputed ground: the future of landfill gas-to-energy

MSW Landfill Management

Summary

Capturing landfill gas reduced the global warming potential of the gas that is successfully captured. However, the system may be imperfect from an economic and environmental standpoint.

Perspectives and insights

  • 74% of U.S. landfill gas projects generate electricity. Nationwide, about 2.44 GW of capacity are currently installed.
  • 1 million tons of municipal solid waste produce only about 0.78 MW of electricity through landfill gas. Thus, sites with millions of tons of waste often have power generation capacities equivalent to just a few small wind farms!
     

Xoologue - a discussion between Xoo and Moo

Moo: 2.44 GW is a small drop in the total American installed power capacity of 1 TW (1000 GW), less than quarter of a percentage.

Xoo: That’s true, Moo. And such a small contribution from landfill gas will be true for almost every country.

Moo: So why such hoopla around landfill gas projects?

Xoo: You call it hoopla. I’m not sure if anyone’s creating hoopla around it! More importantly, perspectives matter here, Moo.

Moo: What perspective?

Xoo: The perspective for investors in waste-to-energy projects should be one of efficient waste management or minimizing environmental havoc than considering the quantum of value or benefit it provides. Remediation, and not revenue generation, should be the emphasis.

Moo: I hope the investors are listening to you.