Ox Mountain landfill now producing power from methane

By on Fri, July 3, 2009

The Chron reports that the power plant that will turn the methane produced by Ox Mountain is now operational. The power will be sold to Alameda and Palo Alto.

Julia Scott at the County Times had a longer and more detailed article on this back in January.

But it’s hard to miss the shiny new plant built at the top of the landfill. Starting this spring, the gas it collects will leave the landfill in the form of electricity — enough to power as many as 10,000 homes in Palo Alto and Alameda.

When it goes online in two or three months, the plant, recently completed by Ameresco Inc., will be able to capture and convert more methane than any other Bay Area landfill. Its six engines will operate 24 hours a day and generate up to 11.5 megawatts of electricity, more than twice that of most local landfills, which produce about 5 megawatts.

"It’s probably one of the largest landfill gas-to-energy projects that’s been developed in the past five years — certainly it’s the biggest project in California in the last five years," said Linda Nugent, senior project developer for Ameresco, which won a contract from Republic Services Inc. in 2004 to develop the plant.

Methane-capture technology has evolved considerably since it first came into use in the early 1980s. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 445 such projects exist in the United States, with the potential for 535 more.