Clean Energy Toolkit Topic: Landfill Gas Energy

When the biological waste inside landfills becomes trapped without exposure to air, it undergoes anaerobic decomposition and produces organic compounds, such as methane (CH4). Landfills are the largest source of anthropogenic methane emissions in the United States. Although methane is a potent greenhouse gas, it is also one of the primary fuels used to generate electricity (e.g., natural gas). Landfill methane emissions can be captured and repurposed for a variety of uses, including electrical generation, heating, and even refined as fuel oil. Landfill gas is by far one of the cheapest methods to generate Class I RPS energy, more cost effective than wind or solar technologies. However, trace chemicals present in landfill gas, combined with a conventional combustion-based electricity production process, can lead to the release of harmful compounds into the air and may not be the best method for managing toxic air pollution. Read more.