Where does the gas come from?
Landfill gas is created when garbage decomposes in the landfill. The most abundant and important gas emitted is methane. An odourless gas, methane is a potent greenhouse gas (much more powerful than carbon dioxide) and when combined with an organic compound called a thiol, it produces an unpleasant odour.
Negative to Positive
The potency of the gas and the odour it produces were the major factors behind the creation of the Landfill Gas Utilization Plant (LGUP). In order to reduce the odour and eliminate greenhouse gas from damaging the atmosphere, FRSW undertook a multi-million dollar project that culminated in harnessing the gas and turning it into a source of energy to help heat and light the homes of New Brunswickers.
The gas is extracted from the landfill using a series of horizontal and vertical wells. A vacuum is applied to the field to draw methane and other gases to the plant. When the program first came online in 2006, the gas was destroyed by burning it in a large in vessel flare. In 2012, a pair of high-powered engines was installed at the plant and methane was used as the fuel source to run the engines which produce power which is then sent directly to the NB Power grid.
Here are some interesting facts about the LGUP and Methane:
- According to Environment Canada, approximately 26 per cent of Canada’s total methane emissions in the atmosphere come from landfills
- Methane is a well-known greenhouse gas and is 21 to 23 more times potent than carbon dioxide
- Between 45,000 and 60,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent is removed from the atmosphere on a yearly basis thanks to the LGUP
- 45,000 to 60,000 tonnes is the equivalent of removing from the atmosphere by volume 1-M bbq tanks every day or the same benefit of taking between 13,000 and 15,000 vehicles off the road daily
- 1 cubic foot Methane contains 1,012 BTUs energy
- Average Canadian Home uses 350,000 BTUs per day