Landfill Gas Capture

Project Details

Project type : Landfill gas capture
What they do : Gas from the garbage decomposing at the landfill is collected and destroyed in a flare instead of being released into the atmosphere.
Where they are : Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Portfolio Year : 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Standard : Climate Action Reserve (California Climate Action Registry)
Verifier : Agri-Waste Technologies

About the Project

The project reduces the amount of methane released by the largest landfill in South Dakota. The methane is collected and sent via pipeline to an ethanol plant, where it replaces fossil fuels as a source of process heat. Any gas not sent to the ethanol plant is destroyed in an onsite backup flare.

Sioux Falls’ gas emissions are well below any regulatory threshold for mandatory control. Interestingly, a geohazard study undertaken in the early 1980’s showed that the landfill area was built on a significantly thick layer of glacial till. The clayey substrate effectively blocks seepage, as the surveying crew was able to date water trapped within the till layer to 12-20 thousand years ago, roughly the same time as the last ice age.

In the community

The project benefits the local community by preventing odor in the surrounding areas, improving air quality through reduction of volatile emissions, and displacing fossil fuel dependency at the ethanol plant. The city is considering establishing a sustainability fund with the proceeds of the sale of carbon credits.

The city has designed the gas collection system to be easily augmented to include an expansion area that has recently been built. Construction and maintenance jobs related to the project help sustain the local economy. Also, having an operational landfill gas collection system and flare typically facilitates negotiations with potential end-users of the gas, and in this case helped the city secure a contract with an existing ethanol plant.