Conversion of methane into a renewable source of electricity has commenced at the City of Durham Landfill, with Duke Energy Carolinas purchasing both the power and associated Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) generated from the project.
Methane is a harmful greenhouse gas, being 21 times more damaging than carbon dioxide. Prior to this project, methane was already being captured and destroyed at the site through flaring. However, the installation of this project enables the methane to be destroyed instead in engines, which generates renewable electricity. Methane Power Inc. has designed and installed, and will now operate and maintain, the 3.3-megawatt electricity generating plant at the site which utilizes a sophisticated gas treatment system and three GE Jenbacher engines supplied by local firm Nixon Energy Solutions.
Key to the success of this project has been the good relationship between all parties involved, with the Mayor of Durham, Mayor William V. Bell, commenting: “This is a great opportunity for the City to support our plan to help significantly reduce the City's greenhouse gas emissions, while at the same time promoting the re-use of energy that would otherwise be wasted." The Mayor continued, “I am especially proud that City administration continues to search for ways to reduce our contribution to global climate change. I believe our efforts can create a more efficient government, improved air quality and a better quality of life for all Durham citizens."
Methane Power is an established renewable energy project developer. President and CEO James Voss states, “We have a number of similar projects where we are utilizing landfill gas to produce energy or, at a minimum, to destroy the methane in that gas and our geographic focus is on the Carolinas.”
Methane Power does not own or run the landfills from which the methane is collected. Instead, it buys the landfill gas rights, designs, installs and operates gas collection and treatment systems and electricity generating plants and sells the end-products, being a combination of renewable energy, RECs and carbon credits, to end-users looking for alternative energy sources.