When organic materials break down in the landfill they produce a variety of gases like carbon dioxide and methane. Methane, which comprises roughly 60 percent of the landfill gas, is also a powerful source of energy.
ACUA previously captured landfill gas and turned it into energy onsite which powered the entire Environmental Park with excess energy provided to the grid where it can be used to power area homes and businesses. The project saved ratepayers more than $8.5 million while in operation and prevented more than 25,602 metric tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.
ACUA and South Jersey Industries will partner on a new project that will convert landfill gas into pipeline-quality renewable natural gas. The project will remove hydrogen sulfide and other impurities from the landfill gas then feed it into the natural gas distribution network that supplies area homes, businesses, and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle fueling stations. Construction is expected to begin in Summer 2023.
It's better for the environment.
Landfill gases currently make up 6.1% of New Jersey’s greenhouse gas emissions. Methane, in particular, has a strong impact on climate change. Capturing and reusing this gas will reduce those emissions. RNG is a clean energy source, and when used in vehicles, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 75% in comparison to diesel fuel.
RNG is interchangeable with traditional pipeline natural gas. It can be fed through the existing natural gas infrastructure without disturbing the distribution network already in place. Besides the cleaning equipment, no new infrastructure is needed.
Landfills are continually producing gas as waste breaks down. Even after active landfills close, gases continue to be produced and emitted for years. For example, the Pinelands Park Landfill in Egg Harbor Twp. has been closed for 30 years and still produces landfill gas! RNG can also be created from alternative waste management technologies, such as digestion or gasification.
RNG can be sourced directly from sites in New Jersey while traditional natural gas that is extracted from the ground comes from out of state.
The project is a result of many years of research into new technology and alternative energy sources. It will showcase the viability of renewable energy projects and help New Jersey reach its climate change goals. The project furthers ACUA’s goals to clean its operations and fleet and showcases SJI’s commitment to diversifying its energy sources.