Doyon Utilities Power Plant Powered by Landfill Gases
The Anchorage Landfill Gas to Energy Project (LFGTE) is a partnership between Doyon Utilities, the Municipality of Anchorage and the Department of Defense to beneficially use landfill gas produced by the Anchorage Regional Landfill. This project generates 7 megawatts of electricity, which is provided directly to the Fort Richardson side of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER).
How does trash generate power? When garbage decomposes, it produces natural gases, which are collected through a system of nearly 60 gas wells drilled through the pile of garbage that is up to 180 feet deep. The gases produced by the trash and heat are a combination of methane and carbon dioxide with some contaminants. After the gases are pulled from the well, they are scrubbed of contaminants and compressed into a pipeline leading to the Landfill Gas power plant. The gases fuel a bank of five generators, which burn the landfill gas in much the same way as natural gas is burned to produce electricity.
The JBER Landfill Gas Plant became operational in 2012 and originally was powered by four General Electric Jenbacher generating units, each with an output capacity of 1.4 megawatts. In July 2013, a fifth generating unit was installed and the total output capacity is now 7 megawatts. A sixth generating unit is currently being considered.
Several different groups experience the benefits of LFGTE. For example:
- Department of Defense benefits:
- Meets more than 55 percent of JBER-Richardson’s energy requirements
- Exceeds federal renewable energy mandates for JBER
- Municipality of Anchorage benefits:
- Will generate more than $50 million of revenue for the Municipality of Anchorage over the life of the project
- Will provide more than $1 million in project-associated property taxes
- Extends the life of limited natural gas resources
- Benefits for Alaskans:
- First project of its type in the state
- Reduces electrical demand pressures in the region
- Helps Alaska achieve its renewable energy goals
- Construction and sustainment costs generating over $30 million in revenue for Alaska businesses
This project is the northern-most of its kind in North America and was awarded the Silver Excellence Award for Landfill Gas Utilization by the Solid Waste Association of North America in its first year of operation. Additionally, it is the largest sustainable energy project in the U.S. Air Force’s Pacific Theatre.
According to Dan Gavora, Doyon Utilities president and CEO, “This is a win for Anchorage, a win for the military and a win for the environment. This landfill creates nearly 2 million cubic feet of gas a day and will do so for the next 60 years. The energy we create with this plant will generate revenue for the city, provide energy security for the joint base, lower overall energy costs, and reduce pressure on local energy infrastructure and resources, all using what until now was an undesirable byproduct of the city’s waste collection, an emission that had to be collected and flared to meet environmental protection standards.”
Sources: Article by Alan Bailey on 2/26/2107, Petroleum News: http://bit.ly/2oeTlWJ and Doyon Utilities. Doyon Utilities is a joint venture between Doyon, Limited and Fairbanks Sewer and Water. It was awarded privatization contracts to own, operate and provide utility service for the United States Army at Fort Wainwright, Fort Greely and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska. For more information on Doyon Utilities, visit www.doyonutilities.com.