How Trash Becomes Energy
Did you know that landfills with gas collection systems can recycle nearly 25% of the material deposited in the landfill? That makes landfills some of the largest recycling operations in the U.S. Here is the best part. The gas created and captured is re-used for energy transformation! From methane to megawatts, Potrero Hills Landfill operated by Waste Connections is harvesting gas emissions as a renewable energy source for electricity. Forty percent of the power for homes and industry in the City of Suisun comes from the Potrero Hills Landfill. The three-year-old sustainability initiative produces enough electricity to supply approximately 10,000 homes. That is 33 percent of the existing homes in Suisun.
As organic waste breaks down in municipal solid waste landfills, methane gas is created. Landfill methane is normally consumed (incinerated) in a flare rather than being discharged to the atmosphere. The landfill gas-to-energy initiative provides an alternative to flaring. A vast majority of the landfills’ methane gas is harvested through a perforated piping system of drilled gas extraction wells. DTE Biomass cleans the gas by removing the moisture content and runs it through five power turbines that deliver electricity to the grid operated by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. It’s a constant source of power that is running all the time, making Waste Connections-Potrero Hills landfill a good neighbor and good environmental steward in the community.