On April 24, Ontario Minister of Energy Donna Cansfield joined municipal representatives and those from the renewable energy industry in Mississauga to witness how the defunct Britannia sanitary landfill site, now sitting beneath a municipal golf course, could provide enough electricity to power 3,000 average homes. Pulling the switch on the main control panel, the minister started the first of three large generators using methane gas as a fuel extracted from the Region of Peel’s old landfill site, which was closed in 2002. Each of these engines, which could burn diesel oil, natural gas or methane, generates up to 1.875 MW of electricity.
The facility, located barely a kilometre from the old landfill site, uses over 1.0 MW to power its operations and to run the giant compressors used to provide a vacuum of 3 psig to draw the methane gas from 45 extraction wells drilled beneath the nine-hole BraeBen golf course. Wells are strategically located in the driving range and along cart paths, designed to collect approximately 2,500 cubic feet per minute of landfill gas. Water condensate and other impurities are filtered from the methane flow.
Integrated Gas Recovery Services (IGRS) built and operates the electricity system. IGRS is a partnership between Walker Industries of Thorold and Comcor Environmental of Cambridge. Peel Region, which owns the landfill, has committed to purchase the electricity generated for a 20 year period, roughly the amount of time that methane will continue to be created in any significant quantity. Peel will use roughly 4 MW per hour of the electricity generated to help power its Lakeview Wastewater Treatment facility.
“This is exactly what we should be looking at in Ontario,” stated Cansfield. “It’s not a large landfill site but what I really like about it is that it’s distributed energy generation. It takes a load off of the main transmission line and uses the electricity locally. Any landfill site that is still burning off methane should consider this kind of project.”
Written by Lawson Hunter, publisher of renewable energy newsletter AREnewsletter.com (http://arenewsletter.com) based in Hamilton, Ontario. Contact Lawson at Lawson@cogeco.ca