Landfill gas (LFG) is a natural by product of the decomposition of organic material in landfills. LFG is composed of roughly 50% methane (the primary component of natural gas), 50% carbon dioxide (CO2) and a small amount of non-methane organic compounds. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas 28 to 36 times more effective than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere over a 100-year period. Municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions, after fossil fuel production, transportation and usage, and livestock farming, accounting for approximately 15% of these emissions in 2018. At the same time, methane emissions from landfills represent a lost opportunity to capture and use a significant energy resource.
When MSW is first deposited in a landfill, it undergoes an aerobic (with oxygen) decomposition stage, where only little methane is generated. Then, typically within less than 1 year, anaerobic conditions are established, and methane-producing bacteria begin to decompose the waste and generate methane. Instead of escaping into the air, LFG can be captured, converted, and used as a renewable energy resource. Using LFG helps to reduce odours and other hazards associated with LFG emissions, and prevents methane from migrating into the atmosphere and contributing to local smog and global climate change. In addition, LFG energy projects generate revenue and create jobs in the community and beyond. An estimated 570 million tons of methane is released to the atmosphere every year, two-thirds of which through human activity and thus some 60 million tons comes from landfills and dumpsites. This represents roughly 830 TWh of energy, i.e. 3% of the global annual electricity generation.
This collected LFG can be transformed to energy, mainly electricity and thermal energy, using gas engines or traditional combustion power plants. However, the best overall efficiency can be achieved using the wasteWOIMA® waste-to-energy power plant with an external superheater. Locating the plant at the landfill not only ensures continuous stream of new waste fuel, but also offers a buffer of existing solid waste and the added value of the LFG. And all this with existing waste logistics without any additional transportation costs. The effectively free LFG can boost the plant’s electricity generation capacity by up to 70% and act as a support fuel for low calorific value waste fractions.
WOIMA has the perfect solution to utilize the LFG. We have developed a modular wasteWOIMA® waste-to-energy power plant that is prefabricated into standard sea-container-sized modules and thus easy and fast to deliver anywhere in the world. It recycles the waste into raw materials and energy in the most efficient manner reducing the waste quantity by over 95%. Once the landfill has been consumed as fuel, the power plant can be dismantled and relocated elsewhere leaving just the concrete base slab behind.
WOIMA Corporation is a Finnish supplier of best-in-class waste-to-value products, projects and services worldwide. We have developed solutions that enable us, and the customer, to transform and recycle virtually any waste stream into raw materials and energy. At WOIMA we combine Finnish engineering know-how in waste management with power generation design expertise. These solutions are used in Finland every day. They support the circular economy ideology and ensure that less than 1% of Finland’s waste ends up in landfills.
Our mission is to improve quality of life both locally and globally, as well as empower people to utilize waste as a commodity. Our decades of international project management experience ensure an on-time, in-budget and high-quality WOIMA solution delivery across the globe.