Westar Energy

Rolling Meadows Landfill Gas to Energy Plant - 6 MW - Landfill Gas

Westar Energy is purchasing clean, renewable power from Waste Management Inc. at its Rolling Meadows landfill.

Location: North Topeka, Kansas.
Generation: Up to six megawatts, the equivalent of 6,000 homes.

How does the facility produce electricity?

Landfill gas, produced when microorganisms break down organic material in the landfill, is composed of approximately 50-60 percent methane and 40-50 percent carbon dioxide.

At most landfills in the United States, the methane is simply burned off. LFTGE facilities use methane gas to power generators offsetting power otherwise generated from other resources.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has endorsed landfill gas as an environmentally wise alternative energy resource that reduces the country's reliance on fossil fuels like coal and oil. Landfill gas is also an important source of waste-based, renewable energy that can generate distributed base load power.

The cycle begins with household waste from residential neighborhoods. The waste is transported to the Rolling Meadows landfill.

Much of this waste, including food, paper and cardboard, is organic in nature. Anaerobic bacteria digest this organic waste and produce methane gas and carbon dioxide as natural byproducts.

The methane gas is recovered via a series of wells drilled into the landfill. These wells are connected by a common pipe system that collects gas and transports it to a nearby compression facility.

At the compression facility, the landfill gas is de-watered, filtered and pressurized.

The gas is piped to an electricity generating plant where it is used to turn turbines that generate electricity.

To complete the cycle, the electricity is delivered via utility transmission lines to residential and commercial customers.