Johnston County NC is the latest to turn their landfill gases into electricity for the area. The Johnston County Landfill produces electricity for 1,500 homes by using the waste materials. The facility can produce up to 1.6 megawatts of electricity when it reaches capacity.
On Wednesday, July 24 2013, Johnston County held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the newly established facility that turns the trash into gas and electricity, which is then sold to Duke Energy Progress. Tours of the facility were also provided to the residents during the event.
The Johnston County Landfill runs pipes through the piles of waste materials to capture the gases they produce. The moisture in the gas is removed and the methane produced is then sent through a Caterpillar 3520 engine. The engine turns the methane into electricity which is then entered into a power grid owned by Duke Energy Progress. Any leftover gas is released into the atmosphere.
There are currently over 30 other landfills in NC that produce methane for the purpose of providing electricity. Even when landfills are shut down, they continue to release gasses which will allow for the collection of the gas to remain possible.
Taking gas from landfills was first introduced in the U.S. in the 1930’s. New York and Fresno were the first places within the U.S. to begin this implementation of turning gas into energy. While methane is potentially dangerous, causing fires and explosions, the practice of turning it into energy has greatly improved since then.
Many other states have been turning their landfill gases into energy as well. It is a beneficial practice that allows us to protect the atmosphere from these hazardous gases, as it provides us with renewable energy sources.