More Gas-to-Energy Conversion to Happen at Kent County Landfill - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

More Gas-to-Energy Conversion to Happen at Kent County Landfill

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

FELTON, Del.- A facility that turns gas from a Kent County landfill into energy is about to get a lot bigger. It is a process that has been going on for years at the Sandtown Landfill in Felton.

At the moment, all the energy produced at the landfill goes elsewhere. Technically, it has been going to power customers on Maryland's Western Shore.

The additions to the facility have not started yet, but should begin this summer.  When they are complete, all the additional power will stay on Delmarva.

As organic garbage decomposes in a landfill, like Sandtown,  it produces gas. That includes the greenhouse gas methane.

"We don't want to let those gases escape. We want to capture them," said Jason Munyan, facility manager at the landfill.

He said Sandtown captures gas from 50 acres of landfill. Once captured, one environmentally-friendly option is to flare the gas off.

"Even better, use them in a project like this with the generators," said Munyan.

Rather than wasting the gas, as flaring it off does, the generators use it to produce energy. The facility at Sandtown has three generators that produce three megawatts. Soon, there will be two more, adding two megawatts that Delaware Electric Co-op is taking. It is enough to power one-thousand homes.

"As we keep growing our landfill, we continue to grow the amount of landfill gas we're producing," said Bill Andrew, DEC CEO. "It will last for many years, keeping a low-cost, very reliable and environmentally-friendly source of power for the people of Kent County."

Andrew said the carbon dioxide bi-product of this process does far less damage to the environment than the methane itself would.

"We are effectively decreasing the greenhouse gas footprint by about 23 times by using the gas to generate power," Andrew said.

"It's kind the best of both worlds," Munyan said. "We're using a product which is a waste product for us, and we've turned it into something beneficial."

Andrew said the new generators should be making power by the end of the year.

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