Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2010 Record Year for Methane Gas Extraction at Short Mountain Landfill

2010 was a record year for electricity production at the Short Mountain Methane Power Plant run by EPUD. In 2010, the plant at Short Mountain produced 22.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to power approximately 1,500 homes for a full year. The output was 23 percent higher than 2009 levels, 26 percent higher than 2008 levels, and 12 percent higher than expected for the year. The previous high was set in 1999, with 21 million kilowatt hours produced.

Increases are due to multiple factors, including growing landfill size, improved landfill practices employed by Lane County, additional wells, and landfill section closures.

“2010 was the first year any section of the landfill was fully closed and sealed,” said EPUD Shop Supervisor Bill Wilson. “Before a section is closed, we can capture about 70% of the methane being produced and convert it to electricity. After a section is closed and sealed, that percentage rises to 92%.”

With help from Lane County, EPUD staff installs new wells to extract methane as the landfill grows. By installing the wells itself, EPUD saves more than 80% by not employing contractors to complete the work.

“Short Mountain Methane Power Plant is a great facility for a variety of reasons,” said Wilson. “It turns a potentially harmful gas into needed electricity for our customers, it reduces green-house gas emissions, and profits from the plant offset rates for EPUD customers.”

As of February 2011, Short Mountain is currently operating above 2010 production levels.

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