Landfill Gas Is Sweet In Wisconsin

Things just got a little more clean and a little more green at the Hickory Meadows Landfill, in eastern Wisconsin. There, officials recently flipped the switch on a new landfill gas-to-energy project.

Operators said the Hickory Meadows project has the capacity to generate 42,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable electricity per year – enough to power 2,800 Wisconsin homes – although they did not estimate what they expected actual production to be. The renewable power plant features three landfill reciprocating engine generator sets with a capacity of 1.6 megawatt (MW) each, fueled exclusively by the landfill gas.

waste to energy, Wisconsin

image via Shutterstock

The gas, which consists of about 50 percent methane and 50 percent carbon dioxide, is naturally generated through the anaerobic decomposition of organic material in a landfill. At the site, the gas had previously been captured and flared off. With the addition of the plant, the gas is distributed via the landfill’s existing gas collection system to the renewable power plant, where liquid and particulate matter is removed. The landfill gas is then injected into the internal combustion engines to produce environmentally clean electric power, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

By using the landfill gas and displacing fossil fuels, the direct and avoided emission reductions of this 4.8-MW plant will be about 25,000 tons per year of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent of removing nearly 38,000 automobiles from the road. Hickory Meadows is the 12th landfill gas-to-energy project in the Veolia Environmental Services North American portfolio. Veolia will sell all of the power generated by the plant, along with the eenewable energy credits associated with the energy output, to Wisconsin Public Service.

Steve Duda lives in West Seattle, WA with three dogs and a lot of outdoor gear. A part-time fly fishing fishing guide and full-time writer, Steve’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Seattle Weekly, American Angler, Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Democracy Now! and many others.