About Landfill Gas

gas-plant-hhLandfill gas is produced from decomposing garbage. This gas is mainly made up of carbon dioxide and methane. Methane is an energy source, but is also a greenhouse gas (GHG). It is flammable and explosive in certain concentrations, which is why it needs to be controlled.

Landfill Gas Capture and Utilization

Since 1991, Hartland has been collecting this gas using a network of wells and pipes. Until 2003, the landfill gas was burned using a flare to reduce GHGs.

In 2003, a landfill gas-to-electricity plant was built next to the flare station to utilize the methane in the landfill gas to produce electricity. The facility contains a reciprocating engine which works very much like a car engine, except instead of gasoline, methane is the fuel. Mechanical energy is turned into electrical energy. The electricity produced is fed into the existing BC Hydro distribution system on-site. The facility produces close to 1.6 megawatts of green power – enough electricity to supply about 1,600 homes.

In 2012, a site specific Landfill Gas Management Plan (LFGMP) was approved which detailed a strategy for capturing landfill gas and meeting collection targets set by the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. The Plan includes installation, operation and maintenance of collection infrastructure and routine reporting. As a result, landfill gas collection has increased significantly and greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by approximately 50% since 2011. Collection infrastructure continues to be installed in accordance with the LFGMP.

Future of Gas Utilization

The volume of landfill gas collected at Hartland has exceeded the capacity of the current landfill gas utilization plant producing clean electricity. The equipment is also reaching its end of life. As a result, the CRD has evaluated two enhanced utilization alternatives: upgrading landfill gas to Renewable Natural Gas (a carbon neutral form of biogas) for sale to FortisBC or expanding the capacity of the current plant to produce more electricity. How the CRD decides to maximize landfill gas for public benefit can have both environmental and financial benefits for the community. It also fosters a greater circular economy, using waste to generate energy. A decision on the future of landfill gas utilization will be made in 2020.