What is landfill gas?
Landfill gas is created as the organic waste in the landfill decomposes. Landfill gas is made up of approximately 50% methane, approximately 49% carbon dioxide, and trace amounts of other gases. These other gases actually cause the odor, which smells a lot like – you guessed it – garbage! The methane that is found in the landfill gas can be used to produce energy for beneficial uses, such as to power industrial processes or to produce alternative “renewable” energy.
How is landfill gas collected?
A series of vertical gas collection wells are installed in the landfill extending down into the waste. Gas is pulled from the waste under pressure. Gas collected by the wells is routed through a series of pipes to an energy facility. Wake County contracts with a firm to produce electricity from the gas. When maintenance takes place at the energy plant, a flare is also used to burn off the methane before it enters the atmosphere or causes odors.
- The Landfill Gas-to-Energy facility is currently producing ±8.5 Megawatts of continuous power.
- 8.5 Megawatts of electricity can power a minimum of 8,500 homes during peak demand and about 17,000 homes off peak.
- The landfill gas-to-energy facility is designed to increase capacity as the landfill grows and generates more landfill gas.
- Based on landfill gas projections the gas-to-energy facility could one day provide sufficient power for a town the size of Holly Springs.
- Prevents greenhouse gases produced by landfills from entering the atmosphere.
- Provides a local, renewable fuel source to generate electrical power.
- Reduces our dependence on nuclear and fossil fuels to produce power.
- Generates revenue for the County through the sale of electricity.
- Creates jobs, and encourages economic development.
Watch a video about the Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project
Facility Manager: Lee Squires