Municipality’s Solid Waste Services (SWS) plans to merge Trash and Technology to Create Renewable Energy
Contact: Sarah Erkmann
ANCHORAGE- Mayor Dan Sullivan and representatives from Solid Waste Services (SWS) today announced plans for a project that captures Anchorage Regional Landfill’s methane gas and uses it as a source of energy.
Landfill gas is a naturally occurring byproduct of the waste decomposition process. When not properly collected, the gas, a significant greenhouse gas emission, can result in explosion hazards and nuisance odors. SWS currently collects and flares (burns) methane at the landfill, but is looking to produce energy and revenue from this resource.
“This project would help us utilize landfill gas that is currently burned off in flare systems,” said Mark Madden, Solid Waste Services Director. “This is a smart way to harness the power of what otherwise is mostly a nuisance; we look forward to working with developers to turn this idea into a reality.”
The project is in the beginning phases. The Municipal Purchasing Dept. recently published a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking parties who wish to develop projects that would utilize the landfill gas for the production of energy or alternative fuels. Responses to the city’s RFP are due in early May, at which point city officials will evaluate the applicants and enter into contract negotiations with the selected entity.
Current timelines show the project to be online and functioning sometime in late 2011 or early 2012. Estimates show that methane collected from the landfill would produce between 2.5-3 megawatts of electricity, or enough energy to meet the electricity demands of approximately 2,500 local homes.
Nationwide, more than 400 landfills currently utilize some form of methane energy conversion.
Discussing the changes Anchorage can expect to see, Mayor Dan Sullivan said, “Our landfill soon will become a viable asset contributing to cleaner air and generating renewable energy. This project is a good example of innovative thinking that can help improve our community.”