Denver Landfill Electrifies Waste, Powers 3,000 Homes

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Powered by landfill methane, DADS V-16 engines generate electricityNotorious for producing the greenhouse gas, methane, and then having to flare it off to avoid the potential danger of explosions, landfills are now converting this gas to electricity that can be fed to the grid.

This September, the Denver Arapahoe Disposal Site, known as DADS, brought its waste-to-energy capabilities online, powering four V-16 Caterpillar engines that generate and sell electricity to utilities company, Xcel Energy.

Chip in a few dollars a month to help support independent cleantech coverage that helps to accelerate the cleantech revolution! Spokesmen for Waste Management, which operates DADS in partnership with the City of Denver, believe the lifespan of this waste-to-energy operation to be almost two decades. The operation now generates enough power to light up almost 3,000 houses. This number may double as the landfill waste that is processed increases and more generating engines are installed.

Four V-16 engines now exist, the electricity generating plant has been built to house up to eight V-20 engines.

The technology for powering landfill methane to generate electricity has existed for almost three decades, Steve Derus of Waste Management, says. However, as he points out, converting methane to electricity has primarily been deployed in larger landfills where the size of the operation makes it economically feasible to generate electricity, when weighed against the significant capital construction expenditure that is required.

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Glenn Meyers

is a writer, producer, and director. Meyers was editor and site director of Green Building Elements, a contributing writer for CleanTechnica, and is founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.

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