GRU Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project A Success

GRU Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project A Success

Landfill gas, which is mostly methane, is produced by the natural decomposition of organic matter in a landfill. As natural gas accumulates it can contaminate surrounding property through migration, if not properly contained. Therefore, Federal law mandates that landfill operators destroy the methane gas by burning it off through a flare stack or similar device.

Of the nation's 6,000 landfills, only about 1,000 produce enough methane gas to make it economically feasible to reclaim and generate power. Size does matter when it comes to producing energy from landfill gas. If the landfill is not large enough, the potential amount of gas produced is too small to pay for the costs associated with converting gas into energy.

The GRU Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project is a partnership between Gainesville Regional Utilities, Ring Power CAT, and the Alachua County Public Works Department. What makes this project unique is that by most standards, this is a very small landfill. For example, the GRU landfill receives about 500 tons of waste each day. In comparison, the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island, NY, receives more than 10,000 tons of waste per day.

To make up for its relatively small size, the landfill relies on technology developed by the University of Florida. A system was developed to recirculate leachate (a "nasty" liquid) back through the waste when it collects at the bottom of the landfill. By recycling the liquid in this manner, the amount of gas produced increases substantially. Enough, in fact, to generate 2.3 megawatts of electricity. Three 850 kW power modules have been installed to consume the landfill gas and produce energy. The recovered methane gas provides a clean source of fuel, improves air quality, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. This project is part of the new Green Energy campaign that focuses on alternative fuel sources.

Power generators require combustion air and vent cooling fans to operate satisfactorily. Aerovent furnished three 54" Model HD53 supply fans and three 42" Model D53 exhaust fans.

All steel fan parts were hot dip galvanized after fabrication to prevent corrosion. The supply fan intake hoods were made from our standard FRP material and the birdscreens were made with our standard corrosion resistant yellow dichromate electroplated zinc finish.

The forethought given to the selection of corrosion resistant materials will benefit the customer for many years to come. This is an important consideration, as the useful life of this landfill as an energy source will extend more than 15 years.

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