Odour control, greenhouse gas emission reductions, and renewable energy generation revenues are all benefits of a successful landfill gas utilization project. As with any reward however, there is typically associated risk.
Landfill gas utilization projects come with a number of risks which must be identified and mitigated in order to succeed. Some typical risks include:
— Power purchase and legal agreements; — Construction budget and schedule; — Landfill gas recovery (quantity/quality); and
— Overall project performance.
Landfill gas projects may also require the coordination of several parties, which could include: the landfill owner, energy users, project developers, designers, contractors and utilities. In order to maximize the benefits from these projects, risks must be sufficiently mitigated and all parties’ interests must be aligned.
Some critical decisions that need to be made before developing a landfill gas utilization project include:
Project Ownership: landfill owner, project developer or local utility. Project Type: direct use, electricity generation, GHG emission reduction project, high-BTU (fuel conversion).
Project Delivery:traditional design/bid/build/bid/operate vs. design/ build/own/operate vs. public-private-partnership (P3).
Britannia Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project
Located in the heart of Mississauga, Ontario, the Britannia Landfill Gas-to- Energy Project was developed using an innovative P3 method. The Britannia project exemplifies the benefits that can be achieved using a P3 model and provides an excellent example of risk allocation and project partner alignment.
The Britannia project was developed in response to the Region of Peel’s desire to harness the energy contained in gas from the Britannia Landfill Site. In 2000, the region issued a Request for Proposals to landfill project developers. Respondents not only had to provide viable project plans (at a site bordered by residential developments) but also incorporate the City of Mississauga’s plans to develop a golf course at the closed landfill site.
Integrated Gas Recovery Services Inc. (IGRS) was the successful respondent and its proposal mitigated the region’s risk by financing, designing, building and operating a 5.6 MW electricity generation project. In return, the region would support the project through a long-term commitment to purchase the renewable electricity generated by the project.
This long-term commitment from the region provided the revenue stability required for the project to be constructed.
Construction started in February 2004 with the installation of the wellfield gas extraction system. The gas processing and electrical generation plant was completed in September 2005. The facility collects gas from approximately 60 extraction wells strategically located throughout the site, which is now a golf course. The gas is conveyed to the offsite power generation plant by a 600 metre pipeline. At the plant, moisture is removed from the gas, which is then compressed before being fed into three 1.875 MW gensets.
Using a P3 model for this landfill gas utilization project provided the following benefits:
— Collective power purchase agreement that met the needs of all parties;
— Expedited design/build construction schedule; — Cost-effective project budget; — Access to private capital resources;
— Maximized project performance due to the project developer being the single point of responsibility for the several project components (i. e., facility design, wellfield operation and power plant operation).
In conclusion, this model of project development offers private and public landfill operators the chance to garner a high quality collection and utilization system at little or no cost for medium to large landfills. Voluntary systems at smaller landfills can also benefit by taking advantage of emission reduction credits for simple wellfield and flaring systems.
The Britannia Landfill Gas-to-Energy Pro ject was awarded the Silver Medal in 2005 for Innovation and Excellence by the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships.
Darren Fry is Business Manager of Integrated Gas Recovery Services Inc. in Thorold, On tario. Contact Darren at firstname.lastname@example.org.Michael Watt, P. Eng. is Vice President of Walker Environmental Group and Director of Integrated Gas Recovery Services Inc. in Thorold, Ontario. Contact Michael at email@example.com
“The project won the 2005 Silver Medal for Innovation and Excellence from the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships.”