New power plant at Half Moon Bay landfill turns methane into energy

Just saw this on InsideBay Area:
The Ox Mountain landfill is full of oddities. Goats graze along a fresh green hillside in the hulking shadow of a flare stack, which burns off the garbage-fed gasses that lie under the grass they’re snacking on. A few steps away, in an uncovered portion of landfill, plastic shopping bags blow through a ravine that offers a pristine view of the ocean.

Watching the landscape from a certain height, it’s easy to miss the thin orange wells that do one of the most important jobs of all: mining deep stores of buried garbage for methane and other harmful greenhouse gas emissions, which are then flared off before they reach the atmosphere.

But it’s hard to miss the shiny new plant built at the top of the landfill. Starting this spring, the gas it collects will leave the landfill in the form of electricity — enough to power as many as 10,000 homes in Palo Alto and Alameda.

When it goes online in two or three months, the plant, recently completed by Ameresco Inc., will be able to capture and convert more methane than any other Bay Area landfill. Its six engines will operate 24 hours a day and generate up to 11.5 megawatts of electricity, more than twice that of most local landfills, which produce about 5 megawatts. Read more at: http://tinyurl.com/9qo786

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