Recovered Methane Fuels Sustainable Power
With today's focus on renewable energy and carbon emissions reductions, landfill-gas-to-energy projects are gaining momentum. These applications use Cat® generator sets to turn waste into economically viable electricity. Caterpillar continually researches, develops and delivers landfill gas products specifically designed to be operated on landfill gas fuels.
Cat® landfill gas generator sets are designed to:
- Extend equipment life and maintenance intervals for landfill applications
- Deliver improved performance and reliability
- Offer lower operating and maintenance costs
- Reduce environmental impact
How It Works
Landfill gas is produced naturally as organic waste decomposes in landfills. It is composed of methane, carbon dioxide and small amounts of non-methane organic compounds. As an important and growing application within the world's power generation mix, landfill-gas-to-energy systems collect, process and treat this gas for use in generating electricity. Two common approaches to landfill gas collection include vertical well extraction and horizontal collectors or trenches.
Municipalities generally use blowers or vacuums to direct the gas from a collection site through a network of pipes to a central facility. At most developed municipal solid-waste landfills, the methane and carbon dioxide are destroyed in a gas collection and control system or utility flare. The sustainable alternative is to divert the landfill gas from the flare to be used in electricity-producing Cat generator sets.
The diverted fuel is dried and sometimes refined to remove impurities such as:
- Siloxanes (Silica)
After fuel treatment, the methane is introduced into a Cat gas generator set as fuel. Caterpillar offers sets specifically designed for operation at landfills with:
- A crankcase ventilation pump to eject potentially acidic blow-by gases
- Specially designed aftercooler cores, cylinder heads, main bearings, and connecting rod bearings that are hardened against corrosive elements
- Differentiated cooling systems to operate at elevated jacket water temperatures to prevent condensation of contaminants
Cat switchgear with PLC-based controls is supplied to parallel the generators to the local electrical grid to export renewable power at a premium to the local electric utility.