Resource management: Landfill gas case study

Look at the first landfill gas project to complete in the Middle East.

Dubai's Al Qusais landfill site is the first in the region to generate power from landfill gas.
Dubai's Al Qusais landfill site is the first in the region to generate power from landfill gas.

In January last year, Dubai Municipality commissioned its first landfill gas recovery facility and flare at its Al Qusais Landfill site.

The system, which recovers methane generated from landfill sites and converts it into energy, was developed alongside private sector partner Green Energy Solutions & Sustainability at the 3.5km² plot that has been used as a municipal waste dump for 22 years.

At the time, the landfill received around 6,000-7,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) per day (over 1,000 trucks) which was dumped, compacted and covered with sand in layers. The landfill gas recovery system installed by Green Energy Solutions & Sustainability involved an intricate network of over 22km of piping underground, allowing the landfill to remain active.

The system mitigated the green house gas (GHG) emissions that were being passively vented into the atmosphere without any collection or recovery system, with the captured landfill gas now completely flared in a high-combustion enclosed flare.

Anita Nouri, business development director of Global Energy Solutions, said the reduction of GHG emissions associated with uncontrolled release of methane – about 55% of the landfill gas – into the atmosphere was the equivalent of removing over 60,000 cars off the road.

From a technical aspect, the project involved the installation of a combination of horizontal and vertical wells which were interwoven with header piping. The gas was extracted from the landfill site using a blower system and routed to a flare system for flaring.

Construction work began in January 2012, with horizontal and vertical gas wells being drilled some 22m deep into the waste to extract the landfill gas. Over 22km of pipes have been laid in the gas collection system.

Over the course of last year, the various components of the project have included the construction on the landfill, the design and covering of the waste for effective gas collection, the setting up and commissioning of the extraction plant and flare, and the installation of the GE Jenbacher landfill gas engine.

Around 6,000m³ of gas per hour is now being flared off, with a small portion of this being routed to a modified landfill GE Jenbacher J360 for the generation of power to the plant and also site offices. The project was the first to generate power from landfill gas in the Middle East.

Nouri said that the aim moving forwards is to work with the municipality to produce 12MW of power from landfill gas by 2015, in line with its goal to generate 20MW of power from landfill gas by 2020.

Eng. Hussain Nasser Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality, said at its commissioning that the new landfill gas recovery project was a significant milestone that complements the sustainable development vision of Dubai.

He called it “a powerful demonstration of public-private partnership in driving a CDM project”.

“Our goal is to establish Dubai as a thought leader in green initiatives, and through our new project, we are not only contributing to mitigating the impact of greenhouse gases on environmental degradation but also promoting social well-being,” said Lootah.

Nabil Habayeb, president & CEO of GE Middle East, North Africa & Turkey, added: “Dubai Municipality has set a significant benchmark in the region with the commissioning of the landfill gas recovery system.

“As a long-term partner in the energy, power and water sector of the region, GE is committed to introducing advanced solutions that strengthen operational efficiencies and promote sustainability. We are honoured to be associated with this significant initiative, in developing the first landfill site in the region producing power from landfill gas.”

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