Rumpke has launched its fourth landfill gas to energy conversion project with plans to build three more in the Southern and Midwestern regions.
The most recent to enter service is at Boyd County Sanitary Landfill in Ashland, KY, in partnership with Archaea, with a capacity to 2,300 MMBtu / day of pipeline grade renewable natural gas (RNG).
The gas will be injected into a pipeline located approximately 1.5 miles from the site owned by TransCanada.
“RNG meets stringent specifications to deliver gas as clean or cleaner than what is currently in pipeline. It will mainly be sold to a large institutional partner committed to decarbonization, ”says Nick Stork CEO and co-founder of Archaea.
Archaea owns and operates the RNG plant and works with Rumpke on its well field to support gas collection and gas collection infrastructure.
Rumpke, a third–Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia production waste management and recycling company, purchased the Boyd County landfill in November 2018.
“The decision to purchase this landfill is part of our business model, as we already transport residential, commercial and industrial waste to this tri-state region. We could provide low cost disposal to our customers, ”said Andrew Rumpke, Regional President of Rumpke.
“We have 14 landfills and what is most important for us is to think long term about how our actions affect and benefit the local community. We own and operate Boyd and needed a partner to operate the wellfield and gas collection to effectively capture the emissions. We have experience working with Archaea at several of our landfills, ”he said, adding that the company was confident the developer could do the job at the 1,600-acre site which receives 1,400 tonnes of solid waste per day.
Archaea secured the gas rights with Rumpke when it acquired the Ashland, KY project from another developer who Stork said was having problems upgrading gas quality.
“The main problem was the removal of nitrogen, a problem that took six months to resolve.. We overhauled the system by applying gas separation and nitrogen discharge technologies to remove inert components and convert landfill gas to RNG with high levels of methane recovery, ”says Stork.
Archaea has entered into three landfill development agreements with Rumpke. In addition to Boyd’s site, they include a second in Kentucky and another in Indiana, with the grand opening taking place at the Indiana site last November. Rumpke is also building another project at his Noble landfill in Ohio.
What drew the developer to Rumpke, Stork says, is that his landfills are well maintained; they are committed to doing “the right thing” on the environmental and compliance side; and they have a vertically integrated strategy (transport and landfill operations) to bring waste from the local community.
“We had to bring in the right kind of waste in the long run for predictable inputs. We want to sell to buyers under 10 to 20 year agreements and place more than 50% of our volumes from a given project into those agreements, ”says Stork.
Conversely, the trend in the GNR space is to sell short-term transport fuels on the markets for loans with variable pricing and subject to local risk.
Speaking about his latest project with Rumpke, Charlie Anderson, Co-Founder and Director of Gas Processing at Archaea Energy, said: “We have turned a very difficult RNG plant into a renewable energy project generating income in a short period of time. of time. We achieved this by carefully analyzing each step of the landfill gas upgrade process to identify the most impactful improvement opportunities, and then implementing changes to successfully return the plant to service.
The partners, who have a revenue-sharing agreement of which they would not disclose details, say they both have an incentive to collect as much gas as possible.
The Boyd Landfill Project, consistent with similar projects, will help reduce more than 25,000 metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year. And that will help reduce air pollution by around 90% across all major categories, according to Stork, which is based on Archaea’s data on gas quality and volume and emissions reports from Rumpke.
“Our goal is to be a great operator in our community. It is important to keep improving the well fields and gas plants… We have more landfills and in the near future we will need to expand the well fields. We will explore the possibility of adding RNG projects to these other sites, ”said Rumpke.
Currently, Archaea sells to the University of California and major natural gas utilities, including Energize and FortisBC, both in Canada. The plan is to continue targeting large institutions that currently use brown natural gas and want to keep existing infrastructure but introduce renewable gas.
Archaea will become the largest publicly traded RNG platform in the United States and globally before the end of 2021, valued at $ 1 billion, according to the company.