Landfill Gas Power Generation

NewEnCo Limited has been involved in biogas power generation and particularly the use of micro gas turbine packages since our inception over 20 years ago. We were the UK distributor for the Turbec T100 Microturbine for over 12 years and we are the only company in the UK to utilise micro gas turbines in UK biogas applications. In total, we installed 95 Turbec T100 units across the UK, 40 of which are fuelled by landfill gas and sewage AD gas.
The problem with landfill gas power generation at small scale relates to maintenance costs. Traditionally gas fuelled generators are based upon reciprocating spark ignition engines. These engines need regular changes of oil, filters etc (just like a car engine). 
Although smaller engines require less oil and smaller filters, the labour costs of maintenance visits are not dissimilar to larger units. Hence, maintenance costs of small units become disproportionally high when related to the income derived. The above comments relate to all gas engines, including those running on natural gas. Where the unit is operating on landfill gas, which by its very nature contains contaminants, the above comments relating to reciprocating gas engines are even more relevant.
This is where Micro Gas Turbine technology has a distinct advantage. With its single moving part, continuous combustion process and lack of potential for oil to be contaminated by fuel gas, the maintenance costs of an MGT package are approximately 25% of what it would cost for an equivalent sized reciprocating set. Hence, although the technology is more expensive at the outset, the much lower maintenance costs mean that projects of 65kWe are very viable and deliver attractive paybacks. Routine maintenance visits for the microturbine systems are based upon 8000 hour intervals and would typically require an annual visit.  All units are fitted with full remote systems, allowing them to be monitored and, in instances such as grid failures, reset.
A fundamental advantage of the micro gas turbine over traditional reciprocating engines relates to emissions; the exhaust gas from a microturbine is orders of magnitude cleaner. It is so clean that, when run on natural gas, the exhaust can be fed directly into a greenhouse to provide CO2 enrichment. Running on landfill gas, emissions are comparable to, or better than, a fully enclosed ground flare.
In 2015, NewEnCo began to offer the range of micro turbines manufactured by the Capstone Turbec Corporation from the USA. Capstone have a microturbine unit (the C65), proven on biogas, which is ideally suited to landfill gas applications.
Newenco installed it’s first pilot ‘microgen’ on landfill, using the Capstone C65, in late 2015. This project was accredited under the Micro Generation Scheme incentive (MGS), allowing the power produced to derive Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC’S).  Unfortunately, the MGS scheme ended in March 2017, but not before we had completed another 15 identical installations using the Capstone C65. We have installed a further 20 units since this date, many of which benefit from the ROC’s from an original generation larger generation project which has been decommissioned.
Until recently, when export prices were low, these small scale ‘microgen’ projects were only viable if they benefitted from ROC’s. However, as power prices have soared, schemes are now viable without ROC’s, deriving income from a combination of offset import costs and export.
NewEnCo’s deployment of microturbines represents the final opportunity to construct viable generation schemes on landfill sites that have either thus far not been viable or where gas has declined to a level that can no longer support the original generation project, utilising harmful greenhouse gases which, in many cases, would not even be flared.
The basic requirements for a micro gas turbine generation schemes are;
  • Existing operational gas collection system
  • Minimum gas flow of 50 cu.m/hour
  • Minimum methane content of 34%
  • Available 3 phase grid connection point for 60kW export
  • Available location for generation plant installation
Our proposal involves NewEnCo offering a fully financed turnkey package for the microturbine installation and commissioning. We will also take care of any applications and permits required for the scheme, at our cost. Once the generation project is operational, NewEnCo will pay for the O&M cost of the generation plant. The landfill owner will receive a share in the income derived from power sales from the project and also discounted power for use on site as required.
Proposed Head of Terms for NewEnCo’s landfill gas powered microturbine schemes are available on request.
There are reportedly over 2000 closed landfill sites in the UK which do not have any form of gas utilisation installed. If you then add to these sites those which have historically supported larger scale generation schemes but which are no longer viable due to declining gas resource, the potential for the installation of these projects is massive.
Hence, if you think that you may have opportunities for our installations, please don’t delay in talking to us!!