Collier County Landfill Gas Management System
Landfill gas is a natural byproduct of decomposing municipal solid waste, where microorganisms breakdown organic materials and release gaseous matter, also known as landfill gas. Landfill gas is composed of approximately 60% methane, 40% carbon dioxide, and less than 1% of non-methane organic compounds. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) municipal solid waste landfills are the second largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States. Unless landfill gas is captured and burned, either in a flare or converted to energy, it enters the atmosphere where it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. If not collected and disposed of, it can become highly explosive when mixed with oxygen.
Landfill Gas Collection
The gas produced by the Collier County Landfill is controlled by installing vertical and horizontal wells into the landfill. A blower is used to pull the gas from the wells and direct it to an energy recovery system. The gas is then converted to electricity on site. The recovered methane is used to power an electric generator and the electricity is sold to Florida Power & Light for distribution to households. The Collier County Landfill produces over 1.38 million cubic feet of landfill gas per day, an amount equivalent to filling approximately 11 Goodyear blimps everyday.
Collier County Renewable Energy Facility
The Collier County Landfill produces a substantial volume of landfill gas that has previously been identified by staff, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the USEPA as a potential alternative energy source. On December 16, 2008, the Board of County Commissioners approved a Landfill Gas to Energy agreement between Collier County and Waste Management Inc., of Florida. The Agreement provides that Waste Management pay for the capital cost to construct the landfill-gas-to-energy facility and interconnect with Florida Power & Light, operate the facility, purchase the landfill gas from the county, and share the revenue from electricity sales equally above a revenue sharing threshold. The revenue sharing threshold will be dependent on the initial capital cost of the facility. This offer is projected to provide the county with over $480,000 in the first year, with net revenue of approximately $14.9 million over the twenty-year term of the Agreement.
Specifics on Collier County Renewable Energy Facility
The Collier County Renewable Energy Facility is a LEED certified building. The plant operates five CAT 3516 engines generating 0.8 megawatts of power each, for a total of 4.0 megawatts. It is estimated the new plant will produce enough electricity to power more than 2,196 households annually.