This green project takes the harmful greenhouse gas methane – produced from decomposing garbage in the landfill – and turns it into a green renewable energy source for the people of New Brunswick. The project, which was developed in two phases, is the direct result of FRSW dealing with a pair of issues.
When solid waste decomposes it emits methane, a powerful greenhouse gas which is harmful to the environment. Methane is odourless, but when mixed with an organic compound called a thiol, it produces an unpleasant smell. Wanting to be good stewards of the environment as well as neighbours to the surrounding homes and businesses, FRSW found a solution with the first phase of the project called the Landfill Gas Management System (LGMS).
After a lengthy process involving a lot of research, investigation and discussion with its board, FRSW went ahead with the LGMS which began operation in 2006. The system involved digging wells – both horizontally and vertically – into the existing solid waste cells on the site. As new cells were created, wells were integrated into their design.
Methane and other trace gases would be captured in the wells and then a large vacuum was applied to the field drawing the gas down to the LGMS plant. Once at the plant, the gas makes its way into a 50-foot steel flare. From there, the gases are burned off at a destructive rate greater than 99 per cent with no visible flare or residue.
The LGMS paid immediate dividends with a vast reduction in smell as well as removing between 45,000 to 60,000 tonnes of greenhouses gases from the air per year. While the project was a success, FRSW was looking ahead to Phase II, turning the gas into green energy.
In order to do this, additional machinery and equipment were needed. FRSW purchased two Jenbacher engines from Austria. The engines are V-20 cylinder and produce 1,324HP each. Instead of burning the highly powerful methane and other gases in the flare, the Landfill Gas Utilization Plant (LGUP) runs the gases through the engine which produces power which is then placed on NB Power grid for use in New Brunswick homes and businesses. The LGUP is capable of producing 2.1 Megawatts of energy, which is enough to power about 2,000 homes.
The LGUP is considered a green and renewable source of energy. The green portion comes from the LGUP removing the equivalent of about 15,000 cars from the road each year in terms of greenhouse gases. It’s deemed renewable as the gas needed to power the engines is produced by solid waste which is dropped off at our facility in large quantities each day.