The Frederick County Board of Commissioners unveiled a gas-to-electricity engine that captures gas from decomposing trash and converts it into electricity. The Reichs Ford Road landfill project, which cost the county less than $100,000, was the result of a collaborative effort between the county, the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority, and Energenic ( a private energy company). The Gazette reports,
Before the completion of the engine, collecting gas from the landfill and burning it off was costing the county about $60,000 a year, said Michael Marschner, director of the county’s Division of Utilities and Solid Waste Management.
Managing emissions is “part of good management of a landfill” because gas buildup and seepage can become dangerous if not properly handled, Davidov said. (Robin Davidov is the Executive Director of the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority.)
The engine will provide 2 megawatts of power, or enough for 2,000 homes per year. About 20 acres of solar cells would be required to produce that amount, Davidov said.
About 85 percent of the gas coming from the landfill, or around 4,000 tons per year, is now being collected and used, according to Mehal Trivedi, an engineer with the county’s Division of Utilities and Solid Waste Management. The county continues to burn off the remaining 15 percent.
At the recognition ceremony on Friday Frederick County Board of Commissioners President Jan Gardner stated,
“We are pleased to officially launch this project and commend our partners in working with us to produce a valuable commodity from our solid waste management program. Using landfill gas to produce energy helps the environment by reducing fossil fuel emissions, aids the economy by providing a stable source of alternative energy and benefits the community by improving local air quality.”