In England and Wales we produce about 330 million tonnes of waste per year, most of which goes to landfill. As waste breaks down large volumes of landfill gas, consisting of methane and carbon dioxide is generated. Both of these gases are greenhouse gases (GHGs), but methane is the more potent with a significant global warming potential. In 2006, 900,000 tonnes of methane was released into the atmosphere from landfills in the UK. In support of Government priorities, we are working with landfill operators to ensure that gas capture rates are as efficient as possible.
At Grundon’s Wingmoor Quarry landfill site gas is collected from a network of gas wells drilled into the capped and operational areas. During 2010, there was a significant investment in expanding the gas control system, resulting in collection of 600 cubic metres per hour of gas. This equates to a reduction of 36,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year, equivalent to 100 million miles of car travel emissions.
The collected gas is used to fuel a recently installed spark ignition gas engine generating 1,200 kilowatts of electricity. This electricity supplies the grid with enough power to supply over 1,000 houses.
Gas capture rates at the site will be expanded as operational parts of the site are completed. Importantly these measures will also ensure that no odour nuisance is caused to local people.
Reproduced from an Environment Agency briefing covering the Wingmoor landfill sites and reproduced with their kind permission. For more information on the Environment Agency and their activities please visit their web site: www.environment-agency.gov.uk