Guysborough wants to generate power using methane gas extracted from landfill

GUYSBOROUGH: The municipality is currently doing work at its landfill, with plans to possibly use the methane gas produced there to generate power.

During the regular monthly meeting of council for the Municipality of the District of Guysborough, a tender for more than $4,397,000 was awarded to Zutphen Contracting to perform upgrades to the second generation landfill in Lincolnville.

Guysborough’s Director of Solid Waste, Gary Cleary, explained that Zutphen was tasked with putting caps on cells 2 and 3.

“The cap is a one-metre layer of clay and liner materials as well, so that the waste is encapsulated,” Cleary explained. “The liner is a similar material to the liner used in a pool, except much, much thicker. Then those liners are joined together to encapsulate the waste, and then the waste is allowed to deteriorate over the years.”

Among the materials that come from that waste as it degrades are methane gas and leachate, and Cleary said Zutphen has also been tasked with installing a gas collection system in cells 1 through 4 to measure, extract and flare the gas.

“The two things we extract from our cell are any contaminated water, which is leachate and any landfill gas, which is methane,” Cleary said.

“We will be extracting it and the system being installed does include an enclosed flare tower… What the system currently being installed allows us to measure is how much gas is there and flare the gas… The flare allows the gas to be flared-off and there’s other benefits, it reduces greenhouse gases, it reduces the potential for odours.”

Once municipal officials know how much methane gas is in cells 1-4, Cleary said they can then determine the next step, which could entail creating Liquified Natural Gas from the methane, or the installation of power generators like the cities of Fredericton and Moncton.

“Generating power is one of the first considerations,” Cleary said. “If there’s sufficient gas to generate power, if yes, then it’s very likely that council will decide to generate power. If there’s not enough to generate power, then that gas may be used to evaporate leachate or for other uses.

Currently, Guysborough is working with an American company, SES Consulting Ltd. which has experience collecting gas at landfills.

Guysborough Warden Vernon Pitts was enthusiastic about the plans.

“Our landfill is the size now, and we have enough solid waste within the second generation site that we’re laying the pipe collection system for methane,” Pitts explained. “Our site is going to start producing methane and they’ll be a Flare Stack there and we’re going to measure that going forward, and perhaps in the very near future, we’ll have an energy source there at the landfill. If you have energy in close proximity like that your operations, your opportunities are endless.”

Zutphen Contractors started work at the landfill site three weeks ago, and they are expected to finish by November, Cleary estimated.