Landfill gas burning project earns dividends for city, helps environment

By Algis Laukatis, Journal Star.

A landfill gas-to-energy project built by the city of Lincoln and Lincoln Electric System has helped reduce the harmful greenhouse gas methane -- and brought in some cash for the city.

The project captures landfill gas at the Bluff Road Landfill via 76 wells and then sends it through a system of pipes to nearby Terry Bundy Generating Station, where it is burned to produce electricity.Landfill gas, a byproduct of decomposing garbage, is 40 to 60 percent methane, with the remainder made up of mostly carbon dioxide.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, methane is more than 20 times more powerful as a heat-trapping gas than carbon dioxide in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. By burning landfill gas as fuel, LES is "taking a potent greenhouse gas and turning it into a less potent greenhouse gas," said Tom Davlin, manager of projects engineering for the publicly owned Lincoln Electric System.