Major US projects to convert landfill gases to valuable biogas

US-based project developer Vision RNG (VRNG) has partnered with waste services provider WIN Waste Innovations (WIN Waste) to build two major projects that will convert landfill gases (LFGs) to renewable natural gas (RNG).

Set to take place at WIN Waste’s Seneca County landfill in Seneca County, Ohio, and its Tunnel Hill Reclamation landfill in Perry County, Ohio, the projects aim to result in the avoidance of more than 120,000 tonnes of fossil-based carbon dioxide (CO2) per year and the production of more than 2.7m MMBtu’s (million British thermal units) of RNG.

In addition to boosting the local economy by creating dozens of construction jobs, the projects will contribute to the companies’ sustainable practices, according to Bill Johnson, CEO of VRNG, who said that the company is proud to be working with WIN Waste.

“We believe we have brought some of the best talent in the industry together at VRNG, and we are very excited to be able to deploy our skills and our capital to help WIN Waste meet its sustainability and financial goals,” he added.

Expected to be used primarily by customers in the transportation fuel market, the projects will reduce CO2 emissions equivalent to those produced by 12m gallons of gasoline or 250,000 barrels of oil annually.

Labelling the projects as the culmination of a ‘massive’ undertaking to embed sustainability into every facet of the company’s operations, Dan Mayo, CEO of WIN Waste enthused about the possibility of creating two of the most technologically and environmentally advanced landfills in the world.

According to the partners, the energy content expected to be gained as a result of the RNG produced from the projects is equivalent to the energy required to heat more than 35,000 homes each year.

This aligns with VRNG’s mission to address the climate crisis by repurposing waste materials into a more sustainable energy source.

U.S. landfills released an estimated 122.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) of methane into the atmosphere in 2021

“We believe VRNG and WIN Waste’s collaboration is an excellent step towards achieving a more sustainable world, and we look forward to continuing to support the VRNG team as it expands its portfolio of projects with leading waste companies and municipalities,” commented Reuben Munger, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Vision Ridge Partners, a sustainable real assets investor and owner of VRNG.

In the US, regulations under the Clean Air Act require municipal solid waste landfills of a certain size to install and operate a landfill gas collection and control system. Some landfills reduce landfill gas emissions by capturing and burning—or flaring—the landfill gas.

Burning the methane in landfill gas produces CO2, but CO2 is not as strong a greenhouse gas as methane. Many landfills collect and treat landfill gas to remove CO2, water vapor, and hydrogen sulphide and use it to generate electricity or sell as it as a substitute for natural gas.

Figures from EESI suggest that landfills are the third largest source of human-related methane emissions in the US. Landfills contain the same anaerobic bacteria present in a digester that break down organic materials to produce biogas, in this case LFG.

RNG/biogas can be injected into the existing natural gas grid (including pipelines) and used interchangeably with conventional natural gas. Natural gas (conventional and renewable) provides 26 percent of U.S. electricity, and 40 percent of natural gas is used to produce electricity. RNG has the potential to replace up to 10 percent of the natural gas used in the United States.

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