Scottish landfill turns methane into electricity with system from Cummins Power Generation Inc.
DUNBAR, SCOTLAND—Viridor Waste Management, one of the United Kingdom's largest operators of municipal landfills, manages a 193-acre site east of Edinburgh, Scotland. In addition to disposing of thousands of tons of solid domestic waste daily from the city of Edinburgh and other nearby communities in a safe and environmental manner, Viridor uses two low-Btu gas generator sets from Cummins Power Generation to produce 3.5 MW of electricity from the methane created by decaying rubbish.
As paper and other organic materials decompose in landfills, a natural by-product of that decay is methane—one of the major flammable components of natural gas. While this natural release of methane is dilute, it is a powerful greenhouse gas that can contribute to global warming. Harnessing this gas to produce electricity protects the environment while generating valuable energy.
New, low-Btu generator sets
The installation features two 1.75 MW low-Btu generator sets from Cummins Power Generation operating in parallel. The model 1750 GQNA low-Btugenerator sets feature the Cummins QSV91G gas engine that is specifically modified to run on dilute methane. The engine has an enlarged fuel delivery system, double-safety gas shutoff valves, and special coatings and bearing materials to withstand corrosive contaminants that can occur in landfill or resource-recovery gas.
The generator sets are housed in a power building that has room for two additional generators. As the landfill grows and methane production increases, additional generator sets will be installed to produce a total of 7MW. At current "tipping" rates, the landfill is expected to operate for the next 30 years.
Total energy solution
Cummins Power Generation provided a full turnkey solution including the installation of the generator sets
with switchgear and paralleling controls, fuel treatment for the landfi ll gas, mechanical and electrical design and the power plant building.
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