Gas-to-Energy Project

Landfill gas is produced by the breakdown of organic materials within the disposed waste. As the bacteria within the landfill consume organic materials like food, paper and wood, gases are produced. Landfill gas is made up of roughly 55% methane and 40% carbon dioxide with the other 5% consisting of mostly nitrogen and small amounts of oxygen. 

In comparison, pipeline-grade natural gas is close to 100% methane. Proper handling of this gas is governed by the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), which are standards developed by the USEPA via the Clean Air Act and strictly adhered to by SWACO.

Gas Collection and Control System 

SWACO’s Gas Collection and Control System (GCCS) consists of close to 200 gas extractions wells and miles of underground piping which conveys the gas under vacuum to either SWACO’s flare for destruction or to Archaea Energy’s High BTU facility for treatment. 

SWACO currently has 100% gas collection coverage over regulatory applicable areas. 

SWACO’s GCCS collects approximately 3,800 MBTU (million British Thermal Units) per day. A BTU is a measure of energy in fuel. The majority of the landfill gas is being converted into natural gas for use, which can reduce the usage of natural resources. 

For perspective, in 2011, total energy use per person in the US was approximately 313 MBTU (www.eia. gov). 

Turning Landfill Gas to Energy 

SWACO has partnered with a High BTU facility - Archaea Energy - that takes a great renewable resource like landfill gas, treats it, and inserts it into a gas pipeline. This endeavor has taken a great deal of effort, resource and consideration. This public-private partnership captures and converts enough methane gas from the current Franklin County Sanitary Landfill to heat 13,386 homes in Central Ohio every year.

SWACO receives an annual royalty payment from the sale of the gas in excess of $2 million which is reinvested into waste diversion programs and services for the community.